Patient Sues Her Doctor for Removing the Wrong Rib and Trying to Cover it Up

Patient Sues Her Doctor for Removing the Wrong Rib and Trying to Cover it UpWhen a doctor makes a big mistake during surgery, do you think that they should apologize for the error? One doctor at Yale New Haven Hospital allegedly made a big surgical error, but not only did they not apologize, they lied and tried to cover up the mistake. Deborah Crave, a 60-year-old patient had surgery to remove her eighth rib, which had a precancerous lesion. During the surgery on May 18th, the doctor removed her seventh rib in error and left the eighth rib, which had been injected with a marking dye, and marked with metallic coils. When Ms. Craven awakened and still felt the same pain, an ex-ray was ordered. The x-ray revealed that the metal markers were still on her rib and that the wrong rib had been removed.

The first error was removing the wrong rib and closing up the patient with the marking coils still in place on the rib that should have been replaced. The next error was trying to cover up the mistake.

Craven’s surgeon allegedly told her that he needed to go back in and operate again because he had not removed enough of her rib. So, Craven was forced to undergo a second surgery that same day.

Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient surgical mistakes

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)describes wrong-site, wrong procedure, wrong patient errors (WSPEs) as “never events” because they are never supposed to happen, and because they can be an indication of other serious safety problems. An AHRQ study estimates that these kinds of errors take place in about 1 in 112,000 surgical procedures performed in hospital operating rooms. In-depth analysis of the cause of WSPEs reveals that miscommunication is often an underlying factor when these colossal errors take place. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) refuses to reimburse hospitals for any costs associated with WSPEs in an effort to incentivize hospitals to improve surgical safety.

Yale issued a statement with regard to the doctor’s mistake that the hospital is, “committed to providing the safest and highest quality of care possible. However, even in the best organizations medical errors may occur. When they do, our goal is to acknowledge them, learn from them, and ensure that we minimize any chance that they ever occur again.”

Ms. Craven has filed a lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court.

If you have suffered an injury at the hands of a medical professional, you may have grounds to take legal action to recover damages. Scheduling a no-obligation consultation with an experienced, Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney will give you the opportunity to discuss your case and discover whether it makes sense to pursue a lawsuit. Please call 202-463-1999 or fill out the contact form to make an appointment at Paulson & Nace, PLLC.