This should never happen, not any more. But it still does. What am I talking about?
Not too long ago it was pretty common for surgeons to mistakenly operate on the wrong leg, wrong arm, wrong eye, etc. But this kind of error got national attention. It outraged the public, including of State hospital regulators. Hospital administrators cracked the whip and made their hospitals and surgery centers adopt more stringent safeguards to prevent this kind of gross error. They started requiring that the part of the body to be operated on be marked with a sharpie. They began asking the patient, before surgery, to confirm which side he was expecting to be operated on. New York surgery malpractice lawyers like us at Michaels & Smolak began seeing fewer wrong-side surgery cases.
So a few weeks ago, when I got a call from a guy whose upstate New York surgeon performed his operation on the wrong leg, I asked myself, how could this happen? As I investigated, it became clear why. It seems that the hospital just did not follow the safety protocols. No one bothered asking the patient, before the surgery, which leg he expected to be operated on. No one marked his leg.
Here’s a message to all local hospitals and surgeons: If you operate on the wrong part of the patient’s body, you will be sued. There is no excuse for it. It is always malpractice. It is always negligence. You failed to follow your own safety rules. This is a slam dunk case of medical malpractice. Be careful. Mark the part, ask the patient, and do it right. Because if you don’t do it right, we will do what good New York medical malpractice lawyers do, and we will do it right.