Cleft palate surgery mistake at Hasbro's

May 15, 2009

An oral surgeon accidentally operated on the wrong side of the mouth of a patient with cleft palate Monday.

An oral surgeon working at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, part of Rhode Island Hospital (RIH), accidentally operated on the wrong side of the mouth of a patient with cleft palate Monday.

Both the surgeon and the surgery team have been placed on administrative leave, so health department investigators can look into the incident. It is the fifth such accident in five years for the company that runs RIH, Lifespan, but the first involving the oral surgery department, or Hasbro Children’s.

“Unfortunately, the preliminary investigation indicates that at least one of our standard policies was not followed: this type of behavior is not in keeping with Hasbro’s own high standards and is not acceptable,” said Timothy Babineau, MD, president and CEO of RIH, in a statement.

The mistake was noticed mid-surgery, and corrected during the procedure. Surgical pen markings, used to determine which side is which, have washed off in the past. It’s sometimes not used for oral surgery at all. The patient is in good condition, Babineau stated