Archive July 2011 XII, No. 7

Anatomy of a Surgical Error

David C. Ring, MD, was resolved to perform the "best carpal tunnel release ever" when he walked into the OR. Unfortunately, the patient was scheduled to receive a trigger finger release. What can we learn from his story?

Irene Tsikitas, Associate Editor

The patient was nervous about the local anesthesia injection before it was administered, and her distress continued to escalate when she was moved to the recovery area after her carpal tunnel release surgery. The woman's surgeon, David C. Ring, MD, tried to ease her anxiety. "She was really, really upset, traumatized just kind of falling apart," he recalls. She eventually calmed down, but the scene unnerved Dr. Ring and left him determined to do better as he headed back into the OR for the next procedure. "I had the resolve, when I left her in recovery, to make my next surgery the best carpal tunnel release ever." Except his next surgery wasn't supposed to be a carpal tunnel release.

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