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Hospital Claims Surgical Error Benefited Patient

A major surgical error at St. Joseph Hospital, a division of Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California, may actually have benefited the child patient who was suffering from a brain tumor.  

The surgeon, whose name has not yet been released, allegedly made an incision in the wrong side of the child’s head during an operation to remove a brain tumor.  The child was not only uninjured by the grave error according to hospital officials, but the mistake actually made the procedure more effective.

“The surgery was enhanced as a result [of the mistake] because the surgeon was able to make a larger incision to relieve pressure,” commented Children’s Hospital of Orange County representative Denise Almazan.

Almazan added that the parents of the child have issued a statement saying, “ We are grateful for the care our child received at CHOC and pleased at the successful outcome of the surgery.  We continue to have our child under the care of the surgeon and the hospital and both have our utmost of respect and support.”  The parents were notified of the surgical mistake immediately after it occurred.  

Despite the parent’s response, the state of California’s division of Licensing and Certification will continue to investigate the mistake.  Hospitals in California are required to report any instance that “threatens the welfare, safety or health of the patients”, according to state law.   This investigation could take weeks or months and will determine if sanctions will be necessary against the hospital or doctor for the surgical error.

Children’s Hospital of Orange County has also facilitated new procedures since the error occurred.  All surgical team members must be organized and ready to operate before any incision devices are allowed in the room and a parent must be present for approval while the doctor marks the area for incision on the child’s body.

The hospital’s spokeswoman added, “We’ve taken immediate steps to prevent something like this from occurring.”


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