When the Wrong Person Gets Surgery, You Get Medical Malpractice September 4, 2010.

You’d like to think that when you go for an operation, that you actually "get" that operation. There have been cases of wrong person surgery.

Unfortunately, because doctors are human, they make mistakes. This isn’t what anyone with a medical problem or needing surgery wants to hear, but it’s true. The statistics show that close to 98,000 American patients die every year because of medical mistakes. If they survive the error, whatever it may be, they may never again be the same person and be able to live their lives as they once did. This type of scenario should prompt the victim to speak directly to a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

Take the case of Irving Johnstone (names have been changed to protect the victim’s identity). Irving went into hospital to have his left testicle biopsied. No one told him it would likely be removed, whether there was cancer present or not. When he awoke in his hospital room, he discovered the surgeons had removed his "right" testicle, leaving behind his left one – the one with the internal growth suspected to be cancer.

To say he was dismayed would be an understatement. He didn’t waste much time hiring a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer to sort the situation out either, as he had to have a second operation to remove the left testicle. His life would never be the same again, and at the age of 37 years old, his ability to have a family was destroyed.

That’s just one example of surgical error. Another, and this is something we do hear about now and again in the media, is wrong person surgery. Hard to believe, but it happens. Consider the case of Nixon Zoster (names have been changed to protect the victim’s identity). Nixon went into the hospital to have his gallbladder removed. In the bed next to him, Norland Zane, was in to have his leg amputated. To make a long story short, Zoster had his leg amputated because the surgeons operated on the wrong person.

What on earth are the reasons behind some of these horrendous mistakes? The answer to that is a mixed bag of things that typically involve the surgical team (doctor) being tired, not having enough experience and/or miscommunications that lead to misunderstandings. While none of these explanations are acceptable when it comes to having harmed another person, they are things that happen, because this is real life and in real life, people make mistakes, whether they are a trained surgeon or not.

The bottom line is that no matter what the reasons may have been for operating on the wrong person, wrong patient surgery is completely unacceptable – period. If this has happened to you, you need to speak to a skilled Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer. You need to find out what your options are, how to proceed, and what types of damages may be assessed as potential compensation for your case.