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Scheduling issues can lead to wrong-site surgery

Although most people think it can never happen to them, wrong-site surgeries occur from time to time. There are many reasons for this, including issues with scheduling.

During the scheduling of a surgical procedure, a variety of factors can contribute to the risk of a wrong-site surgery. This holds true regardless of how the surgery is scheduled, including by phone, manually, or electronically.

Here are some of the scheduling factors that can lead to wrong-site surgery:

-- Office schedulers neglect to verify the accuracy and presence of booking documents.

-- Schedulers accept a verbal request for a procedure instead of requiring it in writing.

-- Booking forms that contain illegible handwriting, abbreviations, or other related mistakes.

Many patients never consider the fact that they could be at risk before they ever reach the surgical room. It only takes one mistake by a scheduler to lead to a wrong-site surgery, which then causes the patient additional health related challenges.

The good thing about all this is that many hospitals have implemented plans to protect against scheduling issues. Conversely, even with the best plans in place, there is always the chance that this could happen.

As a patient, there are things you can do to protect against wrong-site surgery. For starters, verify all your information with the person who is scheduling the procedure. Along with this, make sure you discuss the surgery with your medical team before they begin.

When a person is a victim of wrong-site surgery, it is best to first focus on regaining one's health before doing anything else.

Source: Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence, "Reducing the Risks of Wrong-Site Surgery: Safety Practices from The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare Project," accessed April 06, 2016

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