Imagine that you have suffered through serious kidney problems for several years. You have been through medications, endless treatments and even some experimental procedures but nothing has worked so far. Finally, you make the difficult decision that it’s time to have your malfunctioning kidney removed before it leads to additional harm. You understand that this is a delicate procedure that will require the utmost in skill from your surgeon, but you are also confident in the fact that many people can live well as long as they have at least one working kidney. As such, your mindset is one that’s positive and strong when you report for surgery.
Now imagine that you wake up from your surgery and you instinctively feel for the bandages that should be over the top of where your kidney used to be, only you don’t find anything there. Instead, you notice that the other side of your body is bandaged and wrapped, and as you struggle to regain your wits after being under general anesthesia you manage to stammer through a question to a nurse that should seem quite obvious: “Why are the bandages on this side of my body?”
You don’t get a very direct answer at first, and after you’ve recovered a bit more from anesthesia you get a visit from several doctors. It is during this conversation that you are told something truly shocking – the surgeon has removed the wrong kidney. You struggle to gather your thoughts as seemingly hundreds of questions run through your mind, but you decide that you need to get your mind back in order before pursuing this.
This all seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not only possible, but it’s shockingly common. CBS 2 in New York recently ran a story regarding a man who had the wrong kidney removed while having surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, one of the most renowned medical facilities in the United States. The ‘reason’ provided for this mistake by the hospital was that both kidneys were struggling and that’s why the surgeon was not sure about which one to remove.
As part of the story, CBS 2 provided viewers and online readers with some perspective, as most people probably thought that this was some rare occurrence. The story referenced a study that was done at Johns Hopkins University that looked at these types of events, and the study found that this type of mistake happens more than 4,000 times every year in the United States. Specifically, the wrong procedure is performed at least 20 times per week and doctors operate on the wrong body parts at least 20 times per week across the country.
These mistakes are why medical malpractice laws are in place. People need to be able to trust in the competence of their medical providers. If you or someone you love has been harmed by substandard medical care, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.