Pennsylvania residents benefit from nationwide programs to reduce the incidence of wrong-procedure, wrong-site, and wrong-patient surgeries. Respected agencies and commissions have released national protocols designed to reduce the incidence of such medical errors as much as possible. These programs have been widely successful, and the odds of encountering such an error are exceedingly low.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates the odds of a surgeon operating on the wrong site on the patient, giving the wrong procedure to the right patient or operating on the wrong patient entirely to be in the range of far less than 1 percent. Such surgical errors can be predicted to happen approximately once for every ten years in the life of a typical hospital. In spite of the relative rarity of such events, respected agencies such as the Joint Commission are working to make them even less common.