Wrong Site Surgery Lawsuit Filed Over Operation on Wrong Knee

An orthopedic surgery lawsuit has been filed over medical mistakes at a Chicago-area hospital where doctors operated on the wrong knee, causing permanent injury for the plaintiff.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court, naming Dr. Scott A. Seymore, surgical assistant Lukasz Sidorowicz and the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside.

The plaintiff was supposed to receive right knee arthroscopy, right knee partial lateral meniscectomy and right knee ACL reconstruction when he went to MacNeal Hospital in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn on May 6, 2006. However, the surgical mistake lawsuit alleges that Dr. Seymore and Sidorowicz mistakenly began operating on the right knee instead. After they realized their mistake, they stitched the knee closed and began surgery on the correct limb.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describes wrong site surgery as a devastating, preventable surgical error caused by “poor preoperative planning, lack of institutional controls, failure of the surgeon to exercise due care, or a simple mistake in communication between the patient and the surgeon.” The academy notes that 84% of wrong site surgery lawsuits result in payments to plaintiffs, as opposed to 30% of other orthopedic surgery claims.

Wrong site surgery errors can be prevented by the surgeon consulting with the patient and then putting his or her initials on the proper operative site with a permanent marking pen before the patient is moved to the location of the procedure. The surgeon can then look for his initials and operates through them.

Proper record-keeping, pre-surgery checklists and surgical staff taking a “time-out” to discuss the procedure before cutting can also help eliminate wrong site surgery incidents.

In this medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that the orthopedic surgery error resulted in permanent damage to the cartilage in a previously good knee.

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