No, Your Other Left

Posted By John Coletti || 3-Nov-2009

I am always amazed when I hear about surgeries gone wrong, particularly surgeries in which the wrong limb or organ is operated upon. I mean, how hard is it to clearly mark the spot that needs to be addressed? I was recently at the hospital with my mother, who was undergoing a quick procedure that required her to be checked into the short-term surgical ward. Every single person who saw her asked her to confirm that the information on her hospital bracelet was correct. Those kinds of checks and balances should be rote in any medical center.

Well, whoops to Rhode Island Hospital, which seems to have developed a habit of performing surgeries on the wrong site. In fact, there have been five wrong-site surgeries at Rhode Island Hospital since January 2007. In addition, since July 1, 2009, Rhode Island has had an error-prevention surgical protocol that must be followed by every hospital, but Rhode Island Hospital hasn’t been following it.

The Rhode Island Health Department fined the hospital $150,000 and came down on the hospital, ordering it to follow the state protocols and to install cameras in every operating room. Every surgery taking place in the hospital will be observed for a year. The hospital fine is only the second ever issued by the state health department. The first? Surprise! Rhode Island Hospital in 2007 when it had its third wrong-site neurosurgery in a year.