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Missing the wrong kidney? Surgery mix-ups remain surprisingly common in U.S. hospitals

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: surgery, mistakes, health news

Surgery
(NaturalNews) Three patients walk into a bar after recovering from foot amputation surgery due to diabetes. The first patient says, "My doctor did a great job with my amputation, but he left a little scarring that looks pretty ugly." The second patient says, "That's nothing. My doctor did a fantastic job with the amputation, but it was the wrong foot." The third patient shakes his head and blurts out, "You got off easy! My doctor amputated my foot with the skill of a master surgeon, but I'm not even diabetic and was only there for a prostate exam!"

It's all too common these days, it seems: Doctors are performing surgeries on the wrong organs and even on the wrong people. All it takes is a little paperwork mix-up -- a process at which hospitals seem to excel -- and you could wake up missing a perfectly good kidney, lung or foot. You might even end up having the wrong organ irradiated as a "cancer therapy."

It happens so often that the current phenomenon of surgical mishaps has been called "catastrophic" by surgeons themselves. Catastrophic surgical errors are "a lot more common than the public thinks," says Dr Martin Makary a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University. He wrote an editorial alongside the study that's now shedding light on the seriousness of this problem. The study, led by Dr Philip Stahel, was published in the October issue of the Archives of Surgery.

The data used in the study were gleaned from a review of the database records of a medical malpractice company that insures doctors and surgeons. These records revealed that patients sometimes had entire organs removed (such as the prostate gland) after medical personnel mixed up biopsy samples and diagnosed a perfectly healthy male patient as having prostate cancer.

Catastrophic medical errors were surprisingly common, and one-third of them led to patient harm, the study authors found. Only about twenty percent resulted in malpractice claims or lawsuits, however, meaning that in about 80 percent of the cases, patients just suffered the consequences with no compensation.

This is yet another good reason, by the way, that holistic medicine is so much better for you. Even if a holistic naturopathic physician treats the wrong part of your body, the treatments are supportive, natural and non-invasive, so there's no harm done. Given that the first principle of medicine is supposed to be "do no harm," it's astonishing that conventional doctors and surgeons end up harming so many people.

How to protect yourself from medical numbskulls

So how can you protect yourself from overzealous surgeons who want to start cutting into you immediately upon diagnosing you with some disease you might not even have? (I've heard stories of cancer surgeons scaring people into undergoing radical procedures on a same-day basis...)

First of all, don't believe any diagnosis without a second opinion. Doctors are wrong all the time. Labs mix up results all the time. Paperwork gets shuffled around, data entry errors take place, and overworked medical staff make regrettable errors with astonishing frequency. Never take a single medical opinion as medical fact. You may find that your first doctor is full of bunk (or even that they're all full of bunk if you're in a cancer clinic).

Secondly, before your next surgical procedure (should you for some reason choose to undergo one), use a magic marker to write, in big letters, "WRONG LEG" on the leg your doctors shouldn't amputate (for example). You literally need to spell it out for these people because they're only going on what the computer records tell them, and those records might be wrong. Because you're already unconscious under anesthesia by the time they start cutting, you have no way to tell them to stop, and a few hours later you might wake up to discover that they removed your one good kidney while leaving behind your diseased one.

Thirdly, try not to have surgery in the first place! Most conventional surgeries are medically unnecessary. From hysterectomies and tonsillectomies to mastectomies and coronary bypass surgery, most of these medical procedures are based on nothing more than pure quackery backed by no real science. They make millions of dollars for surgeons and hospitals, but scientifically speaking they offer no real benefit to patients. Most (but not all) surgical procedures can be either prevented or entirely avoided with more natural approaches to health.

The bottom line to all this is to be careful when choosing surgery because surgical mistakes are a lot more common than you might suspect. In fact, they are apparently more common than most doctors would even suspect. As Dr Makary wrote in his editorial, "Each hospital, whether they publicly admit it or not, and whether or not it's discoverable in a lawsuit, has an episode of wrong-site or wrong-patient surgery either every year or once every few years."

Don't let that catastrophic mistake happen to you.

Sources for this story include:
CNN.com
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/10/18/hea...
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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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