According to the Orlando Sentinel, a woman went into the Halifax Hospital Medical Center in Daytona Beach last month for surgery on her left leg. However, when she woke up after surgery, she discovered that the surgeon operated on her right leg.
Not the ideal way to spend the 4th of July holiday weekend, when a woman gave consent to a surgeon to perform vascular graft surgery on her left leg due to vascular problems. The night before the surgery, both the surgeon and woman discussed the surgery and indicated that it would be on the left leg, the surgeon even marked the patients left leg with a pen. Apparently even this precautionary measure wasn’t enough to protect from the negligence of the surgeon.
If performing surgery on the wrong leg is not enough, consider that a nurse in the operating room noticed that surgery was being done on the wrong leg, notified the surgeon who decided to continue on with the surgery anyways! Instead of taking responsibility for his mistakes, the surgeon tried to convince the patient that surgery would have been needed eventually and tried to get the patient to sign a new consent/release form.
It appears the hospital is taking responsibility for the negligent actions of the surgeon. Hospital spokesman John Guthrie said, “[w]e had the wrong-site surgery. We had a system in place, but we did not proceed in the proper way. We self reported. We’re not denying it. We have policies in place, and training in place, but the system broke down because of the human element.”
According to an investigation by the AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration), Halifax Medical Center is in a state of “immediate jeopardy” putting the health and safety of its patients at risk. While we can appreciate the investigation into the Halifax Medical Center and its negligent operation and supervision of its medical staff, it still does not protect the patient who developed an infection and has had to undergo eight to nine more surgeries since the initial operation.
Make sure you and your surgeon and/or the medical staff is very clear and open with you before undergoing any surgery or medical treatment. It is a shame that the chain of supervision and safety procedures failed in this patient’s case. Work to keep staff informed as to everything that is going on, and as the Sentinel suggested – if you are undergoing surgery perhaps write “yes” and “no” on body parts related to the operation. And finally, do not be fooled into signing a consent waiver after the fact if the surgeon and/or medical staff have made a mistake during an operation or treatment.
If you have been injured or required additional treatment due to a mistake by a medical professional please contact us and let us know the details of your case. We would be happy to discuss what happened and what options you have.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando Medical Malpractice Attorneys