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What are some statistics of wrong site surgery?

February 6, 2016

Since surgeons are human, there is always the chance that a surgical error may occur. However, Kentucky patients like you may end up suffering because of those mistakes. This is especially true in the case of more severe problems, such as wrong site surgery.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that wrong site surgery can encompass a number of potential scenarios. It is defined as:

  •          The wrong surgical operation performed
  •          Surgery performed on the wrong site of the body or the wrong location
  •          Surgery performed on the wrong patient

Statistically speaking, there has been an ongoing argument among studies in determining how frequent these incidents are. Some studies claim that one out of 27,686 cases involve surgical error, while others claim one out of every 112,994 surgeries. Yet another study claims that one out of every four orthopedic surgeons that have 25 years of experience may have this problem. After comparing many studies, it was estimated that it is possible that only 10 percent of the wrong site surgeries that occur are ever reported. This is especially true because it is not required to report sentinel events like these.

However, reports have increased recently. Compared to 15 cases in 1998, there were 592 cases reported by June 2007. Podiatric and orthopedic procedures, urological or neurosurgical procedures, and orthopedic surgeries were the most common alongside general surgery. Because of this, rules and regulations have been issued in an attempt to cut back on wrong site surgeries.

The major underlying causes of wrong site surgery are believed to be disorganization, communication failure, leadership issues, or procedural noncompliance.