Maryland Wrong Site Surgery Malpractice Lawsuit

October 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

A recent report in the Baltimore Sun highlights a recent medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a Maryland woman whose doctor allegedly removed the wrong ovary and fallopian tube during a cyst removal operation. Known as a wrong site surgery lawsuit, such types of medical malpractice are rare, but completely preventable.

According to the report, the complaint was filed last month in Baltimore City Circuit Court after a doctor who was supposed to remove a cyst on the ovary on the left instead operated on the ovary and fallopian tube on the right. The complaint alleged that the doctor was not supposed to remove any of the woman’s organs, failed to get proper consent and has left her with reduced fertility and the need for additional surgery.

Making matters even worse, the plaintiff alleged that the doctor did not tell her she had removed the wrong ovary, even after she returned days later complaining of pain on her right side. The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff did not discover the mistake until she went to a local emergency room, which discovered that the left ovary, with the cyst, was still in place and the right ovary and fallopian tube were gone.

Wrong site surgery is generally considered a “never event,” or a mistake that is inexcusable and should never occur.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has indicated that wrong site surgery is caused by “poor preoperative planning, lack of institutional controls, failure of the surgeon to exercise due care, or a simple mistake in communication between the patient and the surgeon.” The academy noted that 84% of wrong site surgery lawsuits against orthopaedic surgeons resulted in payments to plaintiffs, as opposed to 30% of other orthopedic surgery claims.

A number of studies have found that wrong site surgery mistakes can be almost entirely prevented when medical staff use extensive checklists, mark operating sites while the patient is still conscious, and confirm those sites with the patient, checklists and other members of the surgery team.

The Maryland malpractice lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. handle potential cases for wrong site surgery and other surgical errors.

To review a potential case with our Maryland surgical malpractice lawyers
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Maryland Hospital Infection Risk Will Be Reduced With Monitoring of Hand Washing

November 5, 2009 by  
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State health officials have unveiled a new program to lower the number of Maryland hospital infection cases through improved hand washing at hospitals across the state.

handwashing-225-190Teams of staff members at 45 of the state’s 47 hospitals will covertly monitor the hand washing practices of Maryland hospital staff in an effort to improve hand washing habits at hospitals statewide. The program, called the Maryland Hospital Hand Hygiene Collaborative, was made possible through $100,000 in federal stimulus money that was part of a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at lowering the rate of Maryland hospital infections.

Hand washing has been repeatedly identified as an excellent tool in reducing the rate of hospital infections, which would result in a reduction in the number of Maryland hospital infection lawsuits. The CDC reports that there are more than 2 million U.S. hospital infections acquired each year, leading to more than 90,000 deaths annually.

State officials say the program is not designed to penalize hospital staff spotted not undertaking the best hand washing practices. Instead, the program will gather data on hygiene practices at facilities across the state to help determine where hospital staff needs the most improvement in hand washing hygiene practices. Officials also hope that the program will raise awareness for hospital hand washing hygiene.

A number of health care organizations representing doctors and patients have gotten behind the initiative. Supporters say that the program costs very little to implement, but is likely to provide excellent results in combating hospital infections.

Doctors Community Hospital Fined for Failing to Report Medical Mistakes

June 18, 2009 by  
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The state has fined Doctors Community Hospital in Landham, for failing to notify Maryland health regulators of serious hospital medical mistakes that occurred at the facility. The Washington Post reports that the Maryland hospital in Prince Georges County paid a $30,000 fine last month for a failure to report eight incidents where potential medical malpractice led severe injuries, and in one case, death. The hospital fine was originally $95,000, but the state reduced the amount in return for the hospital using the remaining $65,000 on development of a patient safety program.

A state law requires that all Maryland hospitals make public disclosure of any medical mistakes that result in harm to patients. The fine is the first of its kind in the state since the law was enacted five years ago.

According to the article published June 15, 2009 in the Washington Post:

In some cases, state regulators found, Doctors did minimal investigations to determine what went wrong and did not classify the errors by their level of seriousness, as required by law. A few near misses, in which patients escaped serious harm, were never investigated, documents show. Those included a reported assault on one patient by another’s visitor, an eight-day delay in getting medication to a 49-year-old man with a history of heart failure, and a case in which an antibiotic was given to a 65-year-old woman by a technician who mistook it for plain IV fluid.

Maryland is one of more than 20 states with laws on the books requiring hospitals to report mistakes or infections that could have been prevented. There is also federal law requiring all hospitals to report any disciplinary actions against doctors. However, the situation at Doctors Hospital is not unique, and appears to be occurring nationwide, according to a recent report by the consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen.

In a report released earlier this month, Public Citizen found that half of all hospitals in the U.S. avoid reporting disciplinary actions against physicians, usually by exploiting legal loopholes. The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) was established 17 years ago, but in that time, only half all hospitals have actually used the mandatory system.

Many hospitals avoid such reporting by levying disciplinary actions that are designed to fly under the radar of federal reporting requirements. This can include disciplinary periods of less than 31 days, requiring a leave of absence instead actual disciplinary action, or simply not disciplining physicians who have been known to make mistakes.

Doctors Hospital had reported only three errors to the state since 2005, and while other area hospitals were investigated, only Doctors was fined. Officials at Doctors Community Hospital say they plan to hire a registered nurse who will head the hospital’s patient safety program, and the state has promised to review the hospital’s progress in several months.


Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers investigate potential claims for mistakes and errors that result in serious physical harm at area hospitals. To review a potential claim on behalf of yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

St. Joseph Hospital Legionnaires Disease

March 11, 2009 by  
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Patients and employees at Towson’s St. Joseph Medical Center have been warned not to use the hospital’s water supply after the presence of Legionnaires’ disease-causing bacteria was found in the hot water supply. Read more

Maryland Surgical Fires News Story

February 3, 2009 by  
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Monday night, on WBAL TV’s 11 o’clock news, a story was presented about the risk of surgical fires that can occur when operating room tools create a spark that ignites flammable materials or gases around the patient. Although these surgery fires are rare, in many cases they can be prevented and may be caused by medical malpractice.

Each year in the United States, there are approximately 600 reports of surgical fires, and about 20 to 30 of these incidents result in severe injury or death for the patient. However, many of these events are never reported, and few medical facilities have the necessary training or safety precautions in place to reduce the risk of the operating room fires.

In recent decades, the occurrence of surgical fires has increased in part due to modern electrosurgical tool sand devices, paper or synthetic drapes replacing cloth drapes and the use of pure oxygen administered to patients during surgery

The WBAL Channel 11 News story highlighted the story of Maryland resident Catherine Lake, whose mother suffered second and third degree burns as a result of a surgical fire during a 2002 operation, which ultimately led to her death two years after the accident.

Lake has created in an effort to provide people with information about surgical fires and how they can be prevented.

In many states operating room fires do not have to be reported and few regulations are in place to reduce the occurrence of these events. Many are calling for nationwide reporting requirements, increased education and training for hospital staff about fire prevention and preparation, as well as better communication between surgeons and anesthesiologists during operations.

Although Maryland surgical fires are supposed to be reported, WBAL TV reports that under reported.