One In Three Or Nurses Have Experienced A Surgeon Operate On The Wrong Side/site

by carcha carcha Member

:confused: At our recent NATN conference a poll suggested one in three or nurses was present when a surgeon operated on the wrong side or site. Do any of you believe this?, have any of you out there experienced this?. While I know it isent impossible I just cant believe one in three is an accurate number. Thats just plain unbelievable!

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER. 12,126 Posts

None of our OR nurses have experience any wrong site/wrong procedures except for our supervisor, who dealt with that at another hospital.

One in three does sound like a lot. Wonder if they just did this poll at one location, or what?



Specializes in O.R., ED, M/S. 1,260 Posts

More than 20 years ago, before site identification was a big deal, I had the pleasure of watching a orthopod do a total on a knee that wasn't supposed to be done until later. The patient had planned on getting both knees done over a few months time and the "right" one was supposed to be done that day. Instead, the "left" one was done because he felt it needed to be done first. Well, to make a long story short he explained this to the family telling them the importance of doing the "left" that day instead of the "right". They all seem to agree and the patient said he could care less which one was done first. The family eventually sued this surgeon stating it was an emotional drain to know he had done the wrong knee that day. They won and he referred the patient to another surgeon because he didn't want to put up with their frivalous expectations. This was well before malpractice became a real issue and I didn't personally see a problem with this since the surgeon had explained everything to the patient and he agreed to having both knees done eventually The family thought different. Now with wrong site problems and people suing left and right, I make it a point that what's on the consent is what we are going to do, no deviations. No problems since then. Mike



29 Posts

WOW! That's a high number of nurses witnessing wrong site surgery. At my hospital, we have to do a "time out" before each surgery. Usually the surgeon states the patient's name, type of procedure and site of procedure prior to incision. I have heard that there have been incidences at my hospital years ago, but none recently. The wrong site cases I knew about were neuro cases where patients were in prone positions.



314 Posts

Yeah, by the sound of it that number is far fetched to say the least. And yes the poll was done in one location. I guess you cant believe everything you read. Glad its not true anyway.

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