Despite being a rare event, wrong site surgery is the number-one operating room safety concern for 65 percent of operating room nurses in the United States, according to a new national survey conducted by Medline Industries, Inc. According to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, wrong site surgery occurs as often as 40 times per week in the U.S.! However, this number may be misleading. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, as few as 10 percent of wrong-site surgeries may be reported because of voluntary reporting policies. Wrong site surgeries include performing surgery on the wrong side or site of the body, on the wrong patient and performing the wrong surgery. There are several factors that can play a role in a wrong-site surgery, such as a data entry error, misreading medical records and failing to double-check the type of surgery to be performed as well as where on the body and for which patient. The Joint Commission’s investigation into these issues identified 29 main causes of wrong site surgeries.
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