Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What the?!

Here's a thing.

Rhode Island Hospital has just been fined $50K for its third "wrong site" surgery of the year. Last Friday, an 82 year-old person needed surgery on the left side of their brain. Incision was made on the right side, and whoa! You meant the other right! Patch that up and start over!

This has happened four times in the last six years -- all brain surgery patients. My God, these poor people. After the third time, the hospital hired a consultant to help them figure out how to prevent it happening again.

(Come again? Hire a consultant? To tell you how to drill the correct side of a patient's head? I'll take that job: YOU PAY REAL CLOSE GODDAMN ATTENTION TO THE PATIENT'S CHART. Thank you. That'll be [exorbitant fee here].)

Procedures were reviewed, policies were implemented, blah blah blah. Then: it happened again.

WHAT? How hard can it be? It's not brain sur... oh. It IS brain surgery. Be fucking careful, for God's sake!

Obviously the article in the Globe isn't the whole story, but what other side of the story could there be, to make this understandable?

Note to self: no intracranial bleeding in Rhode Island, ever.


  1. Very timely. I am *just now* watching Sicko by Michael Moore. Not sure yet what I really think about it, but if there's even a grain of truth to it, it doesn't speak well for American medical care.


  2. "be fucking careful"

  3. Well, you know, it's that whole left-right confusion thing when you're facing someone - your right is that person's left, etc. The solution is to operate with the brain surgery patients face down on the table.

  4. At least they got the right end...

    Up, Down, Left, Right, Top, Bottom

    Its confusing stuff



  5. Perhaps they should just ask the patient "Hey, which side am I supposed to cut open?" and then use a sharpie to mark the spot...

  6. I can tell you some horror stories....(I used to work in a hospital setting.)

    The problem is nearly ALWAYS with the big shot doctors. It is usually some lowly first year resident or a nurse who points out the obvious and they, of course, NEVER get credit for saving the arrogant asshole md's butt....

    Do I sound bitter? :)