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How to prevent wrong patient surgery

When patients are scheduled for surgical procedures, they hope that everything goes as planned from start to finish. While this is typically the way things work out, you never know if something will go wrong.

For example, wrong patient surgery is a major medical mistake. The same holds true with wrong procedure or wrong site errors.

As the name suggests, wrong patient surgery is when the wrong person is treated for a condition. When this happens, a person who did not need a particular procedure receives it anyway.

Despite the many systems in place to prevent wrong patient surgeries, among other mistakes, these still occur every now and again. The end result is more than one person being put in a less than desirable position.

The primary cause of wrong patient surgery is a lack of communication. For one reason or another, a mistake is made along the way that leads to a medical team performing a surgery on the wrong person. It isn't until the procedure comes to an end that the mistake is revealed.

As a patient, there are things you can do to help prevent wrong patient surgery. For example, make sure everybody you speak with is clear as to who you are and what you are in the hospital for. Additionally, the information on your patient bracelet should be 100 percent accurate.

A person who becomes the victim of wrong patient surgery should understand that there is nothing more important than attempting to correct the mistake. They may require another medical procedure to do so.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, "Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery," accessed Feb. 22, 2016

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