“My Doctor Operated on the Wrong Ankle!”

I was supposed to have an operation on my right ankle.  When I woke up I discovered that they operated on my left ankle.   Now, I have to wait to recover from the operation to the wrong ankle before they will operate on the ankle they should have operated on (the right ankle).  To top it off, I have a hospital-acquired infection in the left ankle and am receiving antibiotics via an IV.  Do I have a case?

Yes.  There is no excuse for wrong-site surgery.  The doctor may blame other operating room staff, and they may blame the doctor, but at the end of the day every person working in the operating room has a responsibility to know what ankle they are operating on.   The only exception to this rule is in you are asked, before receiving any type of sedative, to mark what ankle you are having surgery on and you mark the wrong ankle.  Then the wrong-site surgery may be considered partially your fault.

Tragically, this is a growing problem.  According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals, wrong-site surgery occurs 40 times a week in U.S. hospitals and clinics.  This estimate s based on voluntary reporting – one-half of the states do not require reporting.  Minnesota had 48 cases last year and Pennsylvania has averaged 64 cases for the past few years.

So, yes, you do have a case.  You should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to assist you.