Q: How common are wrong-site surgical errors?
A:Most people who undergo surgery have positive experiences and successful outcomes. That's why surgery is performed as often as it is today - because it works. In some cases, though, surgery ends up becoming a nightmare because of a major mistake made during the procedure. Some forms of surgical error can be traced back to blatant mistakes by the surgical team or hospital staff. Wrong-site surgeries, wrong-side surgeries, wrong procedures, and wrong-patient surgeries are all egregious examples of surgery-related negligence.
These errors are actually much more common than most people would assume. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, there were approximately 2,217 wrong-side surgeries and 3,723 wrong procedure errors committed between 1993 and 2006. That would be the equivalent of between 170 and 287 occurrences of this type of error each year. Though that may seem like a lot, the actual amount of occurrences each year may be much, much higher. Due to inadequate reporting of these errors, it is estimated that between 1,300 and 2,700 of these types of errors actually happen in the United States every year.