Read the two case summaries provided here. The case summaries are on page 2. Once you read the two case summaries, follow the instructions below.
Initial Post
Compare the appropriate nursing interventions by the nurse completed in Mississippi to the inappropriate nursing interventions by the nurse in the Texas case. Provide rationale supporting your comparison citing at least two scholarly sources.T he fifteen year-old patient was
scheduled for surgery on the right

side of his brain to remove a right tem-
poral lobe lesion that was believed to be

causing his epileptic seizures.
The surgery began with the sur-

geon making an incision on the left
side, opening the skull, penetrating the
dura and removing significant portions

of the left amygdala, hippocampus and
other left-side brain tissue before it was

discovered that they were working on
the wrong side.

The left-side wound was closed,
the right side was opened and the pro-

cedure went ahead on the right, correct
The error in the O.R. was revealed

to the parents shortly after the surgery,
but only as if it was a minor and incon-

sequential gaffe.
The patient recuperated, left the

hospital, returned to his regular activi-
ties and graduated from high school
before his parents could no longer deny

he was not all right. After a thorough
neurological assessment he had to be

placed in an assisted living facility for
brain damaged individuals.

When the full magnitude of the
consequences came to light a lawsuit

was filed which resulted in a $11 mil-
lion judgment which was affirmed by
the Supreme Court of Arkansas.

A circulating nurse has a le-
gal duty to see that surgery
does not take place on the
wrong side of the body.
The preoperative documents
failed to identify on which side
the surgery was to be done.
It was below the standard of
care for the circulating nurse
not to notice that fact and not
to seek out the correct infor-

December 13, 2012

Operating Room: Surgical Error Blamed, In
Part, On Circulating Nurse’s Negligence.

Surgical Error Blamed, In Part, On

Circulating Nurse’s Negligence

The Court accepted the testimony
of the family’s nursing expert that a

circulating nurse has a fundamental
responsibility as a member of the surgi-
cal team to make sure that surgery is

done on the correct anatomical site,
especially when it is brain surgery.

The circulating nurse is supposed
to understand imposing terms like se-

lective amygdala hippocampectomy
and know the basics of how it is sup-

posed to be done.
Hospital policy called for the sur-
geon, the anesthesiologist, the circulat-

ing nurse and the scrub nurse or tech to
take a “timeout” prior to starting a sur-

gical case for final verification of the
correct anatomical site.

The circulating nurse should have
available three essential documents, the
surgical consent form, the preoperative

history and the O.R. schedule.
The full extent of the error, that is,

a full list of the parts of the brain that
were removed from the healthy side,

should have been documented by the
circulating nurse, and failure to do so

was a factor that adversely affected the
patient’s later medical course, the pa-
tient’s nursing expert said. Proassur-

ance v. Metheny, __ S.W. 3d __, 2012 WL
6204231 (Ark., D

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