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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Its third wrong-site surgery this year: Errors in brain surgery

The Rhode Island Department of Health reprimanded a Rhode Island hospital yesterday, and fined it $50,000, for its third wrong-site surgery this year. Doctors at the hospital had performed four wrong-site surgeries in six years, all involving brain surgery.

An 82-year-old man was in the neurosurgical intensive care unit (ICU) for brain surgery on Friday. A CT scan had shown bleeding on the left side of his brain. A resident (a physician in training) began drilling into the right side of the patient's head. The resident realized the mistake, closed the initial incision, and performed the procedure on the left side.

As a result of the latest incident, all intra-cranial neurosurgical procedures will have an attending physician present for the entire procedure, hospital officials said.

Advice for patients at teaching hospitals: Add and initial a note on your patient consent form that requires a real physician to accompany the resident throughout your surgical procedure.

Browse for related stories in the index at the very bottom of this page, or read another wrong site brain surgery story at the same hospital three months ago.

Thanks to Liz Kowalczyk for the source article in today's Boston Globe.

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