'X' Marks the Spot. Or Does It?
Posted by Clark Venable on 1/21/2005
Newsday.com has details of a recently announced jury verdict in a case of wrong side surgery:
The jury awarded the money to Douglas Hall, 43, who entered St. Vincent's Hospital on Nov. 30, 2001, for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Despite marking that knee with an 'X,' Dr. Andrew Feldman operated on the left knee. " "
Does an 'X' mean 'operate on this one' or does it mean 'do not operate on this one--operate on the other one'? I've seen a few patients write 'No!' on the non-operative side. We all got a chuckle out of it, but it worked! Rather than an 'X', the mark should be placed on and refer to the correct side--either 'R' or 'L'.
The rest of the article points out that the OR was also set up for the wrong side. Just another example of multiple failures being needed for a medical misadventure to occur. I'm sure there was no end of the 'blame game' going on for this one.
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