Seattle Children's Hospital Operates On The Wrong Side of Boy's Body

seattle childrens hospital medical mistake malpractice error Our office recently received a call from the father of a young boy that was recently the victim of a medical mistake at the Bellevue branch of Seattle Children's Hospital. At this time the name of the boy, his age, and the specific procedure are being kept private for confidentiality reasons. But basically the surgical procedure, which required general anesthesia, was performed on the right side rather than the left side of the body.

Immediately following the surgery the parents noticed that the surgical incisions were on the wrong side and called it to the attention of the nursing staff. They were assured that the surgery was performed correctly. And a few days later the boy was sent home. The family noticed that the symptoms that the surgery was supposed to correct had not gone away and brought the site of the incisions to the attention of the doctor at a follow-up appointment a week later. The doctor checked the charts and admitted that the surgery was performed on the wrong side of the body. After a very brief apology they offered to reschedule the surgery and perform it correctly. They made no mention of whether or not Seattle Children's would cover the cost of the second surgery or offer any other compensation for the trauma which the boy and his family had suffered.

At this point it is unknown if they boy will suffer any long-term effects due to the surgical mistake. It may be many months before the family can obtain the opinions of medical experts as to the boy's future condition.

Health organizations have tried to put an end to surgical mix-ups. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has launched an initiative called "Sign Your Site" that encourages surgeons to initial the actual surgical site before operating. And the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that accredits hospitals and other health-care facilities, has developed a protocol for surgeries that includes having a presurgery "time out" -- a pause during which the surgical team double-checks that the patient and site are correct.

Clearly these types of safeguards are not in place at Seattle Children's Hospital.
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