MGH Doctor Issues a Reminder for Safety

A Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon has publicly acknowledged his medical error in a national medical journal and called on his colleagues to employ safety.

Two years ago, Dr. David Ring was scheduled to perform a routine surgery on a woman with carpal tunnel syndrome.

But problems began to emerge when the operating room was changed at the last minute. The woman was moved to another room. Dr. Ring reported to the first room and performed the carpal tunnel repair on another woman at the hospital for a finger operation.

There were several other complications, but the most significant was that the “timeout” process never occurred. This is when the surgical team runs through a checklist to make sure all necessary safety tips have been taken before surgery. Dr. Ring spoke to the patient in Spanish and other members of the surgical team thought he was running through the timeout process, but he wasn’t.

Dr. Ring discussed his errors in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, urging his medical colleagues to take the time to properly follow safety procedures.

“I hope that none of you ever have to go through what my patient and I went through,” Ring wrote. “I no longer see these protocols as a burden. That is the lesson.”

Breakstone, White & Gluck praises Dr. David Ring for discussing his medical error and reminding other medical professionals to follow safety procedures. We hope his colleagues hear his message. Because when safety procedures are followed, patients stay safe and costly medical lawsuits are avoided.

“We applaud Dr. Ring for publishing this article in the New England Journal of Medicine,” said Marc Breakstone, a Boston medical malpractice lawyer. “This should be a clarion call to all surgeons to take extra care to protect patient safety.

To read Dr. Ring’s article in the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.

To read a Boston Globe article about the case, click here.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston medical malpractice law firm with experience in complex cases of surgical malpractice, medication errors and failure to diagnose cancer and other illnesses. We are experienced, knowledgeable and committed to obtaining results. If you have a case, contact us today at 1-800-379-1244.