One Hospital: Three Wrong-Site Surgeries in Four Months

Federal and Massachusetts state health investigators have cited a Boston teaching hospital for making at least three surgical errors in the last four months of 2010, all of which involved surgeons operating on the wrong vertebrae during spinal surgery. Two of the surgeries were performed by the same surgeon, whose name has not been released.

The spike in spinal surgical errors at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center -- one of Harvard's teaching hospitals -- was notable, because hospitals across Massachusetts had reported only 11 similar incidents from 2006 through 2008. Officials noted that the incidents were unrelated and attributable to human error on the part of the surgeons.

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