In a scene that we all would hope only exists in the movies, a surgeon in Austria committed egregious medical malpractice recently when he amputated the wrong leg. You may be asking yourself: How in the world could this ever happen? Unfortunately, it is quite common. The surgeon blames the pre-operative hospital worker for mistakenly marking the wrong leg. There should be multiple checks in place, though, to ensure something like this never happens. First, the nurse should mark the correct leg. Second, the surgeon should speak with the patient before the surgery to confirm what surgery is taking place and the location of it. Third, the anesthesiologist should speak with the patient to again confirm the surgery and the location. Fourth, prior to the first cut, the surgeon and staff are required to take a “time out” to confirm the patient, the surgery, and the location. Had any of these steps been properly taken, this terrible outcome would not have occurred.
What does medical malpractice like this result in? This man obviously now must live the rest of his life with no legs. That, along, is a devastating loss. The medical bills are also enormous. Insurance in the United States does not cover everything. There are also many times when the injured person actually has to pay the insurance company back out of a settlement.
Instances like this are why medical malpractice cases are so important. Surgeons and nurses must take their time to ensure their patient’s safety. Taking an extra 10 seconds to check this patient’s information would have prevented this malpractice.