Another Wrong Site Surgery in Rhode Island

Tragic news from Hasbro Children’s hospital.

A surgeon on Monday began operating on the wrong part of a child’s mouth during surgery to correct a cleft palate at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the fifth wrong-site surgery in Rhode Island since 2007.

The error was noticed during surgery and the correct procedure then performed, “with good results,” Dr. Timothy J. Babineau, president of Rhode Island Hospital, of which Hasbro is part., said in a statement. “The patient is in good condition and we do not anticipate any further complications related to this error,” he said.

The hospital apologized to the patient and the family. It also placed the surgeon and the surgical team on administrative leave after a preliminary investigation found that “at least one of our standard policies was not followed,” Babineau said.

Thankfully, medical negligence attorneys are holding doctors accountable for cases of medical negligence such as this.  If you have been unfortunate enough to have been a victim of a surgical error, such as wrong-site surgery, you should consider speaking with a medical negligence attorney about your rights.  Further, if you have an upcoming surgery, there are several steps that you can take to protect yourself:

  1. Ensure that your hospital follows the 2004 Universal Protocol issue by the Joint Commission, the national agency that accredits hospitals: (a) before you start to operate, verify that you are doing the right procedure on the correct part of the right patient;  (b) mark the site of surgery ahead of time; and (c) take a “time-out” right before surgery to make sure everything is in order.
  2. Ask that the surgical team frequently asks you questions requiring an active response, including name and procedure with site and/or side – especially prior to sedation.
  3. Ensure that two or more surgical team members are assigned to perform an independent verification and reconciliation of the schedule, consent, and history and physical.
  4. Ensure that the surgical staff is educated regarding the site of the surgery and ensure that the mark is visible when you are prepped, draped, positioned, and during the time out.
  5. Ensure that the site is marked unambiguously (with a skin marker, not a ballpoint pen) and in agreement with your understanding of the procedure.

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has much more information worth reviewing here.

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One response to “Another Wrong Site Surgery in Rhode Island

  1. I realize that this is an old “message’ pertaining
    to a surgical error………however, as a very
    experienced OR nurse who has attempted for
    a long time to “alert” people to the “wall of silence” in the ORs that contributes to ever increasing surgical errors…….can you tell me WHO will listen?? I have the insider information!

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