A Hartsville, Tennessee resident recently gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy. Shortly after, a nurse came to take the boy for what his family thought would surely be a routine medical exam. However, that was not the case. In fact, the nurse was picking up the baby to deliver him to have an operation which was intended for another patient.
The parents were horrified when the nurse returned their crying baby with blood in his mouth from a surgical procedure called a frenulectomy, or “tongue-clipping.” This procedure involves snipping the connective tissue under the baby’s tongue, which can help prevent future speech and feeding problems in the future for newborns with “tongue tie.”
However, since the baby who received the surgery did not actually need it, it may end up causing complications in the future. The parents are understandable furious and plan on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against both the University Medical Center and the physician that ordered and performed the procedure.
The Dangers of Wrong-Patient Surgery
Wrong-patient surgeries have been horror stories for some time now, but imagine if the procedure done on the newborn in this case had been more serious. For example, heart surgery, or some other operation related to birth complications.
The error being made in the first place was bad enough, but the fact that the doctor actually went through with the procedure when the newborn was brought to him could be seen as a sign of negligence.
Also, the patients who are operated on in wrong-patient surgery are not the only victims. The patient who needed the operation may suffer as well from not getting the help they needed on time.
Imagine if a man required an operation immediately, but the life-saving procedure was performed on a different patient. Now, the patient who needed the surgery could be in serious danger, and the patient who did not need the surgery could be harmed for no reason.
Hospitals and their staff have to be more aware, or else they risk the safety of multiple patients. Filing medical malpractice lawsuits against negligent healthcare systems is the best way to prevent future incidents.