A 60 year old McKeesport (Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania man recently filed administrative action against two podiatrists from the Pittsburgh VA (Veteran’s Administration) Hospital for operating on the wrong foot to correct his bunion and hammer-toe deformity. Although the deformities were on the patient’s left foot, the surgeons improperly operated on his right foot. Because this case is against physicians from the VA Hospital, as well as the VA Hospital itself, the case was filed in Federal court (Western District of Pennsylvania). Papers detail the patient’s allegations of improper diagnosis and treatment, as well as the obvious medical error of operating on the wrong foot. There is also a lack of informed consent allegation concerning the surgery that was done on the incorrect foot.
It is reported that, before the surgery began on February 22, 2008, the patient observed the hospital staff make markings on his left foot, which was the foot for which surgery was intended. This is a practice that all patients should follow before elective surgery. However, when the patient woke up, much to his shock, he found his right foot was bandaged. No explanation for the medical error has been reported to my knowledge. The patient had no prior problems with his right foot, which was improperly operated on.
This type of surgical error concerning wrong site surgery should never occur. Unfortunately, there have been far too many reports of wrong site surgery. Recently, a hospital in Rhode Island reported three separate incidents involving brain surgery on the wrong side of the brain. Such mistakes should never be tolerated and any individual who had a wrong site surgery should immediately contact an experienced trial lawyer.