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A Rhode Island hospital has been fined $50,000 and reprimanded by the Department of Health after a doctor performed brain surgery on the wrong side of a patient’s brain. While this sounds terrible it gets even worse. This is the third time this has happened this year at this hospital alone. Last Friday marks the most recent occurrence when the chief resident began operating on the wrong side of an 82 year-old patient’s head. The health department says the patient was not badly injured by the mistake.

In February a different physician preformed neurosurgery in the wrong side of another patient’s head. The patient here was also said be ok despite the careless and negligent actions of the doctor.

Evidently the scare earlier in the year did not make a grand impression and increase awareness as in August another patient fell victim to a doctor performing surgery on the wrong side of his brain. The patient in this instance was not as lucky as the others have been and died just weeks after the blunder. The patient’s death sparked controversy and a state ordered review of the hospital’s procedures, neurosurgery practices, and better verification from doctors of surgery plans.

The most recent mishap tells me that the review has not accomplished anything. I cannot believe mistakes of this nature have been allowed to happen three times in one year at the same hospital. How is this possible? Its not rocket science, or better yet brain surgery, they only need to understand the difference between right and left.

The not-for-profit hospital is making efforts to ensure this does not happen again. Only time will tell if they are successful.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.

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