I always get a cheap thrill from a weird news story. Today, I read about a man who is suing the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Hospital Medical Center for removing the wrong testicle. Instead of removing a potentially cancerous testicle that was “atrophied and painful,” the doctors removed the other one. Oops!
“At first I thought it was a joke,” Houghton told the Los Angeles Times. “Then I was shocked. I told them, ‘What do I do now?'”
I guess you would have to assume it was a joke. However, this sort of mistake happens often enough to require a universal protocol (which is evidently not fool-proof). So here is a list of tips for avoiding ‘wrong site surgery.’
I would also suggest a little flag that says “THIS ONE GOES!” or something similar.
Doctors! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.