Hospital sued for alleged wrong-site brain surgery

Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn, Mich., and two of its doctors are being sued for allegedly performing brain surgery on the wrong side of a patient's head. 

The patient, who died on Dec. 8, 2008, suffered bleeding on the left side of her brain due to an aneurysm. According to the lawsuit, the patient suffered severe brain damage in the final months before her death because the neurosurgeon first mistakenly operated on the right-hand side of her brain and then had to operate for a second time on the left-hand side where the aneurysm actually occurred. The radiologist was asked which side of the brain the aneurysm occurred on only after the neurosurgeon had already opened up the wrong side of the patient's skull, the suit alleges.

"Wrong site operations should never occur," says family attorney Brian McKeen. At press time, neither the hospital nor the doctors had been reached for comment. There is no record with the state of Michigan of any disciplinary action taken against either physician. 

In a timely reminder in light of this story, the National Patient Safety Foundation in Boston announced that the eighth annual Patient Safety Awareness Week will be held March 7 - 13. Participating hospitals plan events to promote patient safety at their facilities.

To learn more about the lawsuit

   - read this Detroit News article 
   - read about Patient Safety Awareness Week in this NPSF press release