Bungled Spine Surgeries a Problem in Massachusetts

The Boston Globe is reporting that there have been 38 incidents since 2006 in which Massachusetts surgeons have performed surgeries on the wrong part of the body. Their review found that bungled spine surgeries account for more of these surgeries than any other kind of surgery performed, with four of the 11 botched spinal surgeries performed at New England Baptist over a 10-month period. Another hospital where a number of botched spinal surgeries occurred is the Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

Fortunately, no serious spinal disabilities or wrongful deaths have occurred from the surgeries. However, certain surgeries resulted in the wrong bulging disc being taken out or the wrong vertebrae fused together. During three incidents, the mistakes were identified during surgery, and the surgeons were able to correct the error before the procedure was over.

One reason why it is not difficult to operate on the wrong area of the spine is that all 33 vertebrae look very similar. While doctors will usually count the vertebrae and consult multiple x-rays to make sure they are performing the procedure on the right area, counting errors can occur.

Misinterpreting medical films is another cause of spinal surgery errors. Errors during spinal procedures can also happen when people have abnormal spine or osteoporotic bone, which makes it hard to distinguish between vertebrae.

Surgical Errors
Sometimes, surgical errors can cause a patient to experience greater pain or discomfort or other health complications can arise. An incident of surgical malpractice can lead to further treatments, surgeries, and other procedures that may not have been required otherwise.

Most surgery in wrong spot done on spine, Boston.com, July 30, 2008
Related Web Resources:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Spinal Surgery Complications

The physical, emotional, and financial toll on a patient can be very high. In Boston and the other cities of Massachusetts, our medical malpractice law firm represents clients that have been injured during botched spinal surgeries or because of other medical errors. Call us today and ask for your free consultation with one of our Boston personal injury attorneys.

Contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

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