I recently read a news account of a Tennessee couple that delivered a healthy baby boy at the University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tennessee. While in the hospital, one day after his birth, a nurse encouraged the mother to put her newborn in the nursery so she could get some rest. Later, a nurse entered the room and began talking to the parents about the care the baby would need at home following the the procedure that had just been performed. They were horrified to learn that a doctor had asked for the wrong baby – their baby – and the doctor performed a frenulectomy on their perfect and healthy baby boy. This procedure involved clipping the underneath skin of the baby’s tongue. One of the reasons this procedure is usually done is because the skin under a baby’s tongue is too tight and makes nursing difficult or impossible. This was not the case for their baby. The newborn was nursing and feeding well. The doctor admitted his mistake to the family. Some patients having this procedure may have complications down the road or may need speech therapy.
A recent study found that from 2010 to 2011 in Pennsylvania, wrong-site procedures, which are procedures performed on the wrong body part, wrong patient, wrong side, or the wrong procedure altogether, were reported to have occurred one time for every 63,603 procedures performed. A study reported 84 percent of orthopedic claims involving wrong sites resulted in malpractice monetary awards to the patient. Continue reading