Recently, a four-year-old boy had surgery to fix a wandering eye. What should have been a fairly straightforward procedure turned into a nightmare for his parents. They learned that the doctor mistakenly operated on the wrong eye, then went on to do the operation again on the correct eye after realizing her mistake, all without contacting them. This medical mistake could cause the boy to have permanent vision damage at some point, but doctors are still waiting for the eyes to heal completely from the surgeries before they can tell.
The boy’s parents decided to come forward to make this mistake public in order to warn other parents about the potential problems they could face. According to the doctor who performed the surgery, the mistake happened when a nurse covered the mark made on the boy’s face to show which eye to operate on. Without that mark, the doctor made the wrong choice.
Sadly, it appears the faulty surgery did damage the boy’s eye, because the previously normal eye is now wandering. According to the child’s mother, he still is able to see fairly well, and doctors are waiting to perform further tests to determine if there is a vision problem as a result.
The hospital is admitting to the mistake and is performing an investigation to see why their safety measures, which normally prevent these types of problems, failed to do so for this family. Regardless, this story serves as a warning to all parents to be vigilant about safety protocols when their children are under medical care, because medical mistakes do happen.
Source: ABC News, “Medical Mistake: Surgeon Operates on the Wrong Eye of a 4-Year-Old Boy,” Michael Murray, 4/19/2011