Surgical errors are a major cause of medical malpractice cases. When a doctor performs the wrong surgery on a patient, their negligence may constitute a breach of their duty and form a basis for a personal injury claim. Though policies may vary from hospital to hospital, American surgical providers have adopted a set of procedures to follow to help them from committing these egregious errors.
Known as the Universal Protocol, these procedures outline three steps that surgeons, hospital workers, and other care providers should undertake to protect themselves and their patients from erroneous surgeries. The first of the procedures involves an extensive pre-surgery review of what procedure is ordered and on what patient.
During the review, the medical staff and patient may discuss what will be done, on which part of the body the surgery will happen, and other relevant information. The second part of the protocol involves marking the patient's body to identify where their surgery should happen. The final part of the protocol involves a medical "time out" that may be called by a member of the surgical team immediately before the procedure is scheduled to begin. This time out gives staff an additional opportunity to discuss the details of the surgery to come.
The Universal Protocol is an important set of guidelines that, when implemented, may stop doctors from performing wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong patient surgeries. These medical mistakes cost patients time, happiness, and money, and can leave them struggling to get back to their normal lives. When medical mistakes happen, personal injury attorneys can help victims find legal options to recover their damages and move their lives forward.