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Surgery Performed on Wrong Infant in Tennessee

The birth of a baby soon turned from joy to dismay when a doctor performed surgery on the wrong newborn. The incident happened recently at a Tennessee hospital. A doctor was supposed to perform surgery on a newborn but incorrectly asked for the wrong infant. The babies were in the nursery when the infant was sent for what was supposed to be a routine exam just hours after his birth. Instead of a simple exam, the nurse returned to the parents a couple of hours later to explain the procedure that was completed. The parents were in shock and were upset by the information. As it turns out, the doctor performed surgery on a completely healthy newborn rather than on the baby who required it.

Doctor Performed Frenotomy

Sometimes an infant is born with a tied tongue. This means that the tongue is connected to the mouth floor with a small tissue called a lingual frenulum. It is usually recommended that babies with tied-tongue have surgery, called a frenotomy, to remove the tissue. During the procedure the doctor clips the tissue to allow the tongue to move properly in the mouth. When the condition is noted the surgery is completed on a newborn because the incision should heal quickly and the baby will not have future problems with eating or speaking. However, the procedure should not be performed on an infant with a normal mouth. In this case, the doctor performed the frenotomy on a baby that was healthy.

Complications from Frenotomy

While most infants recover from a frenotomy rather fast, there are some potential health risks. The incision could become infected or there could be excessive bleeding from the site. As the incision site heals too much scar tissue may form which could create another tongue-tied situation, which would require additional surgery. In addition to these complications, the baby in this case could face some additional problems. Because the surgery was unnecessary, the child could have problems eating or talking. These problems will not be immediately evident. The baby will require continued medical observation to ensure that the site heals properly and that no further complications occur.

Medical Mistakes Are Common

Medical mistakes are all too frequent. In this instance, the baby is the victim of what may be considered a birth injury caused by the negligence of the doctor. Doctors are held to a high standard and when a mistake occurs it is often the result of negligence or carelessness. The doctor in this case made an obvious error and should have known that the baby was not the one who required surgery. Instead, the entire procedure was completed and it was not until the parents were informed that the error was realized.

The parents will likely bring a lawsuit against the doctor and hospital where the incident occurred. They should be entitled to damages to cover all current and future medical expenses caused by the negligence. Additionally, the child may require further surgeries and rehabilitation as he grows. These costs and any other damages will be requested if the parents choose to sue. If your infant was harmed due to the negligence of a doctor you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the compassionate legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your case.

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