New Jersey Patient Receives Kidney Intended for a Different Patient: Wrong Patient Surgery
As reported by the BBC.com, a patient at a New Jersey hospital was given a kidney meant for a different patient earlier this month. The patients – who have not been identified – had the same name and were of a similar age. The wrong patient surgery was discovered one day after the transplant surgery by a member of the hospital’s clinical team. A spokesperson for the hospital says that this was an “unprecedented event” and that both patients have now received kidneys and are doing well. The patient who was supposed to receive the original kidney was given a different one about a week later.
Preventable surgery errors
Hospitals have protocols in place to reduce preventable errors. Typically, they do include double-checking a patient’s identity before performing surgery. It’s clear that the identical name in this case was enough to create confusion and that double checking the age and other identifying factors could have prevented this wrong patient surgery. A statement by the hospital read: “As an organization committed to safety and process, we immediately instituted additional measures and educational reinforcement to help ensure this does not happen again.”
Wrong Patient / Unnecessary Surgery
Wrong patient surgery is not as common as wrong site surgery but it is a very serious concern for those who receive unnecessary treatment. Surgeries bring the risk of complications and require recovery time. In addition, the person may have life-long health issues because of a surgery they were not supposed to have.
Medical malpractice claim for wrong patient surgery or unnecessary surgery
Surgical errors are a common type of medical malpractice claim. Like all types of medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will need to prove four elements to prevail upon an action of negligence, typically with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer:
- A duty of care. A healthcare provider owes a duty of care to his or her patients. Proving that there was a duty of care is usually shown through the existence of a doctor-patient relationship when the patient received healthcare services. The situation is usually only complicated if there was a consulting physician who did not treat the patient directly.
- The healthcare provider was negligent. Medical malpractice means that the doctor was not reasonably skilled, competent or careful in their diagnosis or treatment of a patient’s healthcare needs. The plaintiff must prove that this misdiagnosis or erroneous treatment or lack of treatment caused harm that a different doctor would not have caused. Note that an unsatisfactory outcome is not enough to prove negligence. In most states, your lawyer will prove a deviation from the accepted standard of care by presenting the testimony of an expert medical witness.
- The doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Since most people go to a doctor when they are already sick, it is imperative that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury, not the illness itself. Medical malpractice attorneys must present a medical expert to testify that the doctor’s negligence caused the death or injury.
- The injury led to specific damages. It is not enough to prove that the doctor’s performance was below a reasonable standard of care; the patient must have suffered specific damages as a result of negligent care. Damages include physical pain and suffering, medical bills, lost work and earning capacity, disability, disfigurement and mental anguish.
Seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney
If you were injured because of medical negligence or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a medical negligence lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing medical malpractice attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing people injured by medical negligence in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!