Taking the news pulse of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, by Providence Journal and projo.com staff, from 7 to 7, every business day
By Felice Freyer
A doctor at the Miriam Hospital this morning operated on the wrong knee of a patient undergoing arthroscopic surgery for arthritis and an injury.
The mistake was first noticed by the patient when she regained consciousness, according to Dr. Kathleen Hittner, hospital president. The hospital then performed the surgery on the correct knee, and the patient is doing well, Hittner said.
Miriam Hospital is part of the Lifespan hospital group, which includes Rhode Island Hospital, where three wrong-site surgeries occurred last year. Hittner said that Miriam had recently instituted policies intended to prevent these very types of errors.
Interviews conducted today indicated that all protocols had been followed, including marking the site and pausing before surgery starts to ensure that the team was about to do the right thing, according to Hittner. Although the correct knee was marked, the wrong knee was draped for surgery, and six people in the operating room somehow did not notice it was the wrong knee, she said.
Hittner said she felt "tremendous sadness, sorrow" over the incident. "I can't believe it actually happened to us because we worked so hard to prevent it," Hittner said. "We're really sorry that this happened. We're going to work hard to make sure it never happens again."
The hospital reported the incident to the Health Department, and a team went to the hospital to begin an investigation, spokeswoman Helen Drew said.