The Gori Law Firm Personal Injury
The Gori Law Firm
Free Consultations | Get A Free Case Review Here 618-307-4085 888-362-6890
To protect your safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we offer telephone and video conferences, in addition to face-to-face meetings. Please contact our office today to set up a remote consultation.
View Our Practice Areas

Surgical errors are more widespread than many realize

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has released a Patient Safety Primer about the issue of "wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors" (so-called "WSPEs") to raise awareness for providers and patients alike. A previous study published in the Archives of Surgery that analyzed both voluntary and mandatory healthcare facility reporting data shows that as many as 2700 WSPEs happen each year in a variety of surgical settings (including inpatient, outpatient, ambulatory care and interventional radiology).

What are WSPEs?

According to the AHRQ's Patient Safety Primer on the issue, WSPEs are the most common types of surgical errors. They are defined as:

  • "Wrong-site" errors happen when the proper surgical procedure is performed, but on the wrong location in the patient's body. Examples include operating on the left knee instead of the right one, removing a healthy ovary instead of a diseased one or operating on the wrong level of the patient's spinal column.
  • "Wrong-procedure" errors involve performing the wrong surgery altogether but on the right patient. This could happen, for example, when two patients are scheduled back-to-back in the same operating theater, one of which is supposed to undergo a knee surgery, the other of which is set for an ankle surgery. The surgeon could inadvertently perform the knee surgery on the patient who was supposed to have ankle surgery or vice versa.
  • "Wrong-patient" errors, as the name says, involve operating on the wrong patient, usually one who has the same or similar first or last name as the patient who was originally supposed to undergo the surgery.

What should you do if you've suffered a WSPE?

First, if you or someone you love has been the victim of a wrong-site, wrong-procedure or wrong-patient surgery error, you should speak up. Don't think that you have to suffer in silence, even if the physician directly apologizes for their mistake; make sure that the hospital administration and the proper administrative bodies are made aware of the issue. This could include making a complaint to the state's medical licensing board and/or hospital accreditation agency.

In addition, you should seriously consider speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss possible legal options at your disposal. The doctor's or facility's mistakes could result in lasting physical repercussions for you. At the very least, you could need additional surgery to correct any issues that arose as a result of the original errors.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Get The Legal Representation You Need - And DeserveFill Out The Form Below To Get A Free Case Review

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy


The Gori Law Firm
156 N Main St
Edwardsville, IL 62025

Toll Free: 888-362-6890
Toll Free: 888-779-6064
Phone: 618-307-4085
Phone: 618-307-4053
Phone: 618-659-9833
Phone: 618-659-4469
Fax: 618-655-9690
Map & Directions

At The Gori Law Firm we value your feedback. Write Us A Review
Back To Top