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Chicago, Illinois

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Jamie G. Goldstein
Jamie G. Goldstein
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Increase in Surgeons Operating on Wrong Body Site

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In 2006, there was an increase in the reports of wrong site operations in the United States. There were 86 reports in 2006 to the Joint Commission of surgeries performed on the wrong site. Universal precautions were institututed two years ago but may not be helping. The number of reported incidents may also be misleading. Doctors and hospitals often do not report wrong site surgeries for fear that they or their institution may develop a bad reputation.

It is important that the truth about surgeries being performed on the wrong site be exposed. If doctors and hospitals are admitting that they are not accurately reporting, then the true number of wrong site surgeries could be many multiples of the 86 reported in 2006. Reporting is necessary to help understand why these instances are occurring and to help develop better guidelines to reduce these instances. Doctors and hospitals need to take better precautions and better guidelines need to be introduced. Maybe this is another way to reduce medical malpractice cases instead of going after innocent patients through tort reform.