Let Us Help You Get
The Compensation You
Need And Deserve

Why do some patients have to mark their own bodies before surgery?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2024 | Surgical Error

Surgical procedures require both skilled medical expertise on the part of the surgeon and absolute trust on the part of a patient. Most surgeries involve anesthesia, meaning that the patient cannot monitor the operation while it is in progress. Therefore, the input of a patient before an operation begins is often important for the prevention of certain errors.

The continued prevalence of serious but preventable surgical errors has led to some hospitals and surgeons adopting a seemingly strange preoperative procedure. The hospital insists that a patient either needs to circle part of their body using a permanent marker or has to view and approve the placement of markings applied by medical professionals before they begin receiving anesthesia. This may seem like a frivolous step when preparing for a surgery.

Wrong location procedures are a common issue

According to medical malpractice statistics, wrong-side or wrong-site surgical errors are somewhat common. They happen every week in hospitals across the United States. Surgeons perform an operation on the wrong part of the body or the right body part but the wrong side of the body. Those mistakes can cause a cascade of negative consequences. The patient may need to undergo a revision procedure in addition to still requiring the surgery that they should have initially received. They may need more time off of work to recover from the multiple operations they must undergo.

In more extreme cases, they may no longer be eligible for the initial surgery, such as a scenario in which a surgeon removes the wrong kidney. Such errors are typically preventable with proper care and preparation. Surgeons and their support staff members sometimes rush through pre-operative checks and could make a mistake regarding the location of the procedure. Having a patient physically mark their body or affirm the placement of a mark can significantly reduce the likelihood of a wrong-site surgical error.

Despite protective protocols, these errors continue to happen with surprising frequency. Patients who receive a procedure on the wrong part of their body may incur major costs related to that surgical error. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit could help someone recoup lost wages and cover additional medical expenses generated by a serious surgical mistake.