Despite efforts, wrong-site surgeries hard to eliminate

Health care experts thought eliminating surgeries performed on the wrong patient or body part would be a simple job, but seven years after the launch of a major effort to eradicate the medical errors, experts say the problem is more complicated, Sandra G. Boodman writes for Kaiser Health News.

In fact, some experts say the problem of wrong-site surgery could be getting worse, Boodman reports. The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, estimates that 40 wrong-site surgeries are performed 40 times a week in the U.S.

Those Boodman spoke to offered several explanations for why the problem persists, including increased time pressures, the challenges of changing hospital culture and resistance among doctors to following standardized procedures and working in teams.

“I’d argue that this really is rocket science,” Mark Chassin, a former New York health commissioner and president of the Joint Commission, told Boodman.