Universal Protocol Mandate Not Impacting Rate of Wrong-Site Spine Surgeries

Posted on May 03, 2012
One of the more common types of medical malpractice that can happen is wrong-site surgery. Efforts to prevent it have been put in place, such as through the Universal Protocol mandate approved by the Joint Commission Board of Commissioners and put into effect in July 2004.

Under this mandate there are specific requirements designed to reduce the risk of surgical mistakes, including: 
  • pre-surgical verification;
  • marking the surgical site; and
  • time out (taking the time to verify everything is safe and in order). 

Impact of Universal Protocol on Wrong-Site Surgeries

Despite these efforts, recent research has shown that the rates of wrong-site spine surgeries haven’t been impacted. Not only are there a high number of orthopedic surgeons performing surgery on the wrong site, but also the rate of these surgeries also hasn’t improved since the Universal Protocol was enforced.

The researchers also found that most of these wrong-site surgeries involved single-level lumbar laminotomy. This is raising concerns that the mandates issued may not be enough.

Damages for Wrong Site Surgery

If surgery being performed on the wrong site led to serious injury, then damages may be available. This may include mental anguish, pain and suffering, medical costs, lost earnings, and other losses suffered.

Contacting a Kentucky Malpractice Attorney

A Kentuckymalpractice attorney at Gray and White can help you handle every aspect of your medical malpractice claim. If you’ve become the victim of a surgical mistake in Kentucky, contact us today for a free evaluation of your case: 1-888-450-4456 or 1-502-210-8942.
Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law