A Rhode Island hospital was fined $50,000 and reprimanded for operating BRAIN SURGERY on the wrong side of a patient’s head. This patient had a bleed on the right side of his brain and the surgeon began drilling on the left side. Once the mistake was realized, the surgeon stitched up the patient and began drilling on the correct side.
A different doctor at the same hospital performed brain surgery on the wrong side of another patient’s head in February. Also in August, a patient died after a third doctor operated on the wrong side of his head. According to a statement the hospital said:
“Effective immediately, all intra-cranial neurosurgery procedures will have an attending physician present for the entire procedure and the timeout process to verify site and side for significant procedures in the operating room or at the bed side will include one physician and a nurse or physician assistant in addition to the resident.”
In 2004 the state of Florida implemented the “pause rule” which means that the surgeon and the team must out loud name the patient, the procedure and the site and side being operated on.
A study in the Archives of Surgery found that over a 20 year period, of 2.8 million operations, wrong-site occurred in one of every 112,994 surgeries excluding the spine.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.