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Who's to Blame for Wrong-Site Surgery?

Despite attempts to prevent it, wrong-site surgery is on the rise across the country. Although it is still relatively rare—occurring in approximately 1 of 112,000 surgical procedures—that number is much higher during procedures performed outside of the operating room. And while it’s pretty simple to prove that a wrong site surgery happened, assigning liability can be complex. Wrong-site surgeries can involve institutional failure by a health care provider—meaning many people at a hospital or clinic could be to blame for any injuries suffered.

Proving Liability in a Wrong-Site Surgery

A doctrine known as res ipsa loquitor governs most wrong site surgery cases. A res ipsa case is one where the injury that has occurred could not have occurred unless some kind of negligence played a role, eliminating the need to prove medical negligence. For example, if your left leg was amputated but it was your right leg that was supposed to be removed, there is no question regarding whether the wrong site surgery was negligent. The only way the wrong leg gets amputated is if someone messes up.

Still, liability hovers over each and every medical professional involved in wrong-site surgery. In nearly every instance, the surgeon or team of surgeons performing the procedure are held liable. This could also include nurses, anesthesiologists or other medical staff members involved. The surgical prep staff—who prepare patients for surgery—may also bear some liability, as they are responsible for ensuring the entire surgical team has the appropriate information before the procedure begins.

If you are the victim of a wrong-site surgery, providers may pass blame between each other without accepting responsibility. In order to protect your rights and recover the compensation necessary to fix any mistakes, you must enlist the legal guidance of an attorney to assess your situation and determine the best course of action. A successfully navigated medical negligence lawsuit could bring you the much-needed financial restitution you need. Contact our Reno personal injury attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today.

Call (775) 227-2280 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.

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