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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The chief medical officer made the error public: Wrong side kidney surgery

When doctors at a Minnesota hospital made a mistake by removing the healthy kidney from a cancer patient, the hospital system's chief medical officer made the error public. 
Accounts by the hospital place blame on a crucial error that happened several weeks before the surgery. Apparently the kidney on the wrong side was identified on the patient's medical chart as potentially cancerous.
 New procedures have now been put into place requiring the surgical team to verify sites using the diagnostic imaging before an operation begins.

According to news reports, 24 wrong site surgeries were reported to the Minnesota Department of Health between October 2006 and October 2007. That is two per month, just in Minnesota!
 These would have surely gone unreported but for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who signed a bill requiring that hospital errors must be reported to the state.

Advice to surgery patients: Read your medical chart carefully beforehand, or have your patient advocate do so.

Read another wrong site surgery story.

Thanks to Frank Bailey and Sach Oliver for their source blog post on March 24 at the InjuryBoard, the blawg of their law firm.

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