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Correspondence and Brief Communications |

Wrong-Site Surgery—Reply

Mary R. Kwaan, MD, MPH; David Studdert, LLB, ScD; Michael J. Zinner, MD; Atul A. Gawande, MD, MPH
Arch Surg. 2006;141(10):1050. doi:10.1001/archsurg.141.10.1050-a.
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We thank Dr Rothman for his letter. By reporting that wrong-site surgery is rare, we do not intend to rationalize this error nor de-emphasize efforts to prevent it. Wrong-site surgery remains unacceptable, and recognizing the incidence does not change this. Surgical teams have an enormous variety of potential errors to prevent—ranging from technical errors to technological malfunctions to retained instruments and sponges—and understanding their relative frequency is essential to planning effective interventions.

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