Hospital fined $75K for operating on patient’s wrong testicle

A surgical error that led to a patient having the incorrect testicle operated on caused officials in the state where it ocurred to fine the hospital $75,000. This case of wrong-site surgery appears be a sadly typical example of how this seemingly basic mistake can happen.

The patient went to the hospital in 2011 for an operation on his left testicle, which had a lesion on it. The testicle had to be removed because of this growth. But while he was in the operating room, surgeons cut into his right testicle by mistake.

The doctors realized their surgical error and completed the operation on the correct testicle. But the patient suffered increased pain from having to recover from an unecessary incision into the wrong body part.

On Aug. 15, the state public health department issued the fine, finding that the surgical error might have been avoided has the team performing the operation taken a “time out” before beginning. A “time out” is a technique in which a surgical team pauses briefly and double-checks to make sure they are about to operate on the correct body part.

The hospital apologized for its error in a statement after the fine was announced. The facility says it has begun an initiative to improve its surgical performance and reduce errors. Among the new steps created by this initiative are two points at which the team identifies which body part is supposed to be operated on prior to the surgery.

Hopefully, these additions to the procedure will prevent this sort of medical malpractice from happening again at this hospital.

Source: KGTV-TV, “Sharp Healthcare fined by state over error during man’s testicle surgery,” Aug. 15, 2013

Surgical Errors


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