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Why do you have to circle the operation site before anesthesia?

The technology used for surgical procedures has increased by staggering amounts in recent years. There are robotic surgical systems that can perform procedures without a doctor physically touching the patient. There are more forms of anesthesia now than in the past and even gamma knives that can help remove a tumor without damaging nearby tissue.

With all of those incredible technological advances, some of the steps that you have to take before a surgery may seem incredibly outdated or even inappropriate. Why do surgeons or their support staff come to see you right before an operation and have you circle the surgical site with a permanent marker? Surely there are more advanced and appropriate ways to identify the location of a surgery.

Wrong-site operations continued to be a major concern

Mistakes do happen in medical settings, even if a doctor tries their best. Being overworked or overtired could lead to a mistake that has life-altering consequences for the surgical patient. Wrong-site operations involve a procedure performed on the wrong part of the body or the wrong side.

Medical experts estimate that at least 2,000 of these mistakes occur every single year just in the United States. Wrong-site surgeries can cause catastrophic physical trauma and permanently limit a patient’s function. It might also make it impossible for the patient to receive the necessary surgery that they initially expected to undergo. By having a patient personally validate the location of the surgery, the medical facility decreases the likelihood of a wrong-site operation.

Wrong-site operations can affect your finances and your health

Obviously, you will need time to physically recover from an operation, which means time off of work. You may require more time off of work if you have to undergo a second procedure because the first one targeted the wrong part of your body. The mistake made by your surgeon could cost you, the patient, tens of thousands of dollars or even more, and could have a long-term impact on your quality of life.

Holding a doctor accountable for medical malpractice after a wrong-site procedure can protect you by connecting you with compensation and can protect other patients from falling victim to the same mistake in the future.