According to information published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are many factors that contribute to wrong-site surgeries, such as multiple procedures and surgeons, time constraints and uncommon equipment, among others. While it is likely that a significant number of wrong-site surgeries are not reported, the number of wrong-site surgeries reported has increased in recent years as health care organizations have shown more transparency. In San Bernardino, and across California, wrong-site surgery and other surgical errors are a serious problem for some patients and their families.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also published helpful information regarding wrong-site surgery. The AHRQ states that surgical errors on the wrong site, wrong patient or involving the wrong procedure are some of the most terrifying medical errors that patients experience. A study revealed that these errors, which are considered “never events,” take place roughly once per 112,000 procedures. However, this study didn’t include procedures that were performed outside of operating rooms. If it had, the study may have found a notably higher prevalence of surgical errors.

Surgical errors take many forms, whether a medical professional performs an operation on the wrong side of a patient’s body or accidentally performs an operation on the wrong patient because they had the same last name as another patient. There are a number of ways that medical professionals can work to prevent wrong-site surgeries and surgical errors from occurring. For example, medical personnel should ensure that there is proper communication at all times and carefully assess each procedure before getting started.