Case Analysis Of Aurturo Iturralde's Surgery

858 Words 4 Pages
During the course of Aurturo Iturralde’s surgery, several unethical practices occurred that directly resulted in this malpractice case. During surgery, Dr. Ricketson implanted an object into Aurturo’s spine that was not intended or approved for implantation. As a result of Hilo Medical Center’s (HMC) failure to properly inventory a surgical kit prior to a surgical case, per hospital policy, it was discovered during surgery that the necessary titanium rods were missing. Dr. Ricketson made the unethical decision to cut a section from a stainless steel surgical screwdriver shaft and implant it into Aurturo’s spine. During a physical therapy session, Aurturo fell, causing the stainless steel screwdriver shaft to shatter and cause more damage to …show more content…
Ricketson, informed the patient of the implantation of a screwdriver shaft in his spine. When a nurse, who was present during the initial surgery, brought this to the attention of her supervisors she was told it was the surgeon’s responsibility to inform the patient. To further exacerbate the situation, when the nurse tried to go to the patient’s hospital room to inform him herself, there was a security guard posted at his room. (Iturralde, 2012) Surgeons have a responsibility to be transparent with patients when complications arise during surgery, therefore, failing to do so is considered legally and ethically unacceptable. Professional ethics, accreditation standards and state apology laws are implementing “disclosure-and-offer” programs. Physicians are required to disclose to patients when complications arise as a direct result of their actions and offer an explanation of the nature of the error. (Ryan, Mekel & Sinha, 2017) Had the Dr Ricketson properly notified the patient of the deviation during surgery, the patient and family could have made an informed decision to hold off on physical therapy until a revision surgery could be performed to install the correct titanium rods. The patient then would not have fallen, shattering the screwdriver shaft causing irreparable …show more content…
Is it legal?
2. It is balanced?
3. How does it make me feel?
If the action is legal, then ask yourself the next question. Balance refers to whether or not your actions will negatively impact someone’s life. Finally, would your actions cause embarrassment? If you can answer yes to the first two question and feel good about the third, the action is most likely ethical. (Fremgen, 2015) Additionally, implementing the use of checklists will ensure all necessary steps have been completed prior to all procedures.
These ethical guidelines will force providers and organizations to hold themselves accountable for failures that occur and work towards complete transparency when addressing errors. They will also be useful in determining how and why the error occurred and how to correct it in the future. The organization will be better equipped to explain to patients and family what happened and how they will make sure it does not happen again. (Emanuel & Emanuel, 1996) Having ethical checks and balances in place will also serve as a frame of reference for all healthcare providers to safeguard against harm, reduce the risk of malpractice and show the public that patient safety is their top

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