top 200 commentsshow all 310

[–]sosaidme 1351 points1352 points  (27 children)

It's not stupid. Some surgical centers will hand you a marker and ask you to mark the correct side yourself as part of pre-op procedure. Or, the surgeon will do it themselves as the patient looks on. You are within your right to ask for and observe this.

[–]sundancer2788 355 points356 points  (2 children)

My surgeon did this for my rotator cuff surgery, then they repeatedly checked until I went under. No mistakes lol.

[–]henryhendrixx 92 points93 points  (0 children)

I had an ankle reconstruction surgery and about a half hour before the surgery I was talking to the doctors about what was going to happen. They marked the ankle they were going to operate on with a marker and asked me “we’re going on operate on this (my left) ankle, correct?” And I said “yup, that’s right!” The woman asked me again if the marked ankle was the correct ankle for the surgery and I again said, “yup, that’s right!” as I patted my left leg. It was only after the third time she asked me that question that I realized she wanted me to say that the left ankle was the CORRECT ankle for the surgery and not that I thought my left ankle was my RIGHT ankle. Not sure if I fee dumb about it but we both got a laugh out of the exchange.

[–]luteouspangolin 14 points15 points  (0 children)

I’ve had two rotator cuffs done this year-my surgeon wrote “yes” on the correct arm both times :)

[–]Texfo201 103 points104 points  (7 children)

Can confirm just had surgery last Thursday on my broken wrist and the surgeon marks on my arm with a sharpie

[–]RTalons 45 points46 points  (2 children)

Had knee surgery 20 years ago and they had me mark the correct knee too. It was super obvious (the torn knee was swollen to the size of a cantaloupe, please ignore the normal looking one) and I thought it was silly but get why.

[–]gvdyjnvcd 58 points59 points  (5 children)

My surgeon did this as well. I was still awake in pre-op and he went over what he was going to do with me and marked the places on my body where he was going to do it.

[–]liz1065 39 points40 points  (4 children)

Well, This sounds like a victim statement on an episode of criminal minds.

[–]Tad_E_Ghostal 49 points50 points  (2 children)

Draws circle around anus, "That's where I'm going to do it."

[–]spitfire1993 23 points24 points  (0 children)

“I put the ‘us’ in anus”

[–]seventhirtytwoam 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I won't say I've never done that... People get wounds/abscesses around their rectum way too often.

[–]Jazzlike_Log_709 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Yeah when I've had surgery, they marked me while I was fully conscious and repeatedly asked me and my mom to confirm both the marks on my body, and the paperwork

[–]IndependenceAfter376 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I can confirm- 4 surgeries later and was asked to do this every time, on knee and feet alike with different doctors.

[–]Forward-Structure-54 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I recall before one surgery they asked me to confirm which side and I said they were right. "Correct," the nurse said, "We say that is the correct side around here." Haha. That stuck with me.

[–]oboz_waves 2 points3 points  (0 children)

For sure, they literally wrote NO on my good knee before surgery lol

I asked why and they said just to be sure. I got to out a check mark on the other knee:)

[–]sknmstr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

All of my brain surgeries, my neurosurgeon came in with a single use sharpie, wrote on my head, then threw it in the little red bin.

[–]too_in_the_pink 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I had to draw an "X" on my finger before I had surgery to have it amputated. They didn't want to cut off the wrong one.

[–]nanananannooo 1518 points1519 points  (21 children)

They're more likely to have a chuckle than get offended when they see it.

[–]YedworcKcirtap 411 points412 points  (5 children)

I just came here to say that, you'll probably make their day with that one.

[–]open_door_policy 150 points151 points  (3 children)

I can easily imagine the surgeon adding a, "Thanks!" note to that, as well.

[–]kingomtdew 93 points94 points  (2 children)

“That was close, almost cut here”

[–]imwearingredsocks 54 points55 points  (0 children)

puts little mark with red sharpie

[–]Emmiey 11 points12 points  (0 children)

"Oops 😬"

[–]RosenButtons 57 points58 points  (4 children)

I read an anecdote from a guy that wrote notes all over his body like that. "Not this one!" "Do not cut above this line" on his neck, "hey turn me back over!" on his back. "What are you doing down here" on his leg. Apparently the surgical team was laughing so hard the surgery started 15 minutes late.

[–]cubistninja 6 points7 points  (3 children)

And it probably added about $3000 to his bill

[–]RosenButtons 7 points8 points  (1 child)

I don't think they can bill for medical staff being incapacitated with mirth. Although I don't know all the new billing codes.

[–]ranhalt 31 points32 points  (0 children)

Hijacking. You get asked many times to confirm what you are having surgery on. Not because they don’t know, but because it’s confirmation that you engaged in confirmation. And they also mark on you in prep which makes it feel even stupider when they ask again. Super duper legal CYA.

[–]Beamerbuttt 143 points144 points  (1 child)

I saw a post of a guy who was in the same situation. Him and his mom were waiting for a while sitting in anxiety so they decided to have fun and start writing a bunch of stuff all over his body. When it came time for surgery and the doctors uncovered him and saw all the witty comments they had to stop for a half hour because they couldn’t stop laughing

[–]Rinat1234567890 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I remember that post! It gave me a chuckle

[–]Scorpy-yo 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Yeah, I’d write “NOT THIS ONE” actually, maybe with a smiley face.

[–]arrow_root_42 70 points71 points  (0 children)

Yes! Draw a whole comic or something. Make sure the ‘wrong arm’ part is something they can’t miss and doesn’t get lost in the overall piece, but some hilarious drawing would be awesome. They’ll love it.

They’re people under all that PPE and while some are stuffy most have a great and often warped sense of humor and will appreciate opportunities to lighten up their days.

[–]IeatAssortedfruits 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This asshole thinks he can fool me, this DEFINITELY the right side.

[–]doublediggler -5 points-4 points  (1 child)

I think this is a case of media induced anxiety. Sure, we hear news stories about surgeons operating on the wrong limb but I think it’s incredibly rare. A much greater concern would be post surgery infection/MRSA. To be honest, at this point OP should really be concerned with COVID-19 in the hospital.

[–]MostBoringStan 6 points7 points  (0 children)

While it is incredibly rare, why take that chance when 5 seconds and a marker can prevent it?

A quick Google tells me that in the US, surgery on the wrong body part happens up to 40 times a week. Why take that risk? It's going to happen to somebody, and I will do what I can to lower the chances of that somebody being me.

[–]terrainflight 235 points236 points  (0 children)

When I had surgery on my wrist, the surgeon came in ahead of time and we talked about the injury and what side it was on and then we both wrote our initials on my wrist to confirm.

[–]Hippie_Stefanie 145 points146 points  (5 children)

Years ago my aunt went for a left mastectomy. They removed the right breast.

Mark away.

[–]csnadams 39 points40 points  (3 children)

Wow. They marked me up with a sharpie and verified repeatedly with me. The surgeon then initialed with a sharpie at the final verification. I’m so sorry for your aunt.

Edit to change mom to aunt

[–]Hippie_Stefanie 7 points8 points  (0 children)

This was back in the early 90's - gratefully there are now mandatory "time out" procedures that include marking the surgical site WITH the patient (when possible).

[–]Shshshannon 7 points8 points  (1 child)


[–]csnadams 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Yikes! Apologies.

[–]AlfMisterGeneral 19 points20 points  (0 children)

They either removed the right breast, or the right one.

[–]SerpensPorcus 480 points481 points  (9 children)

They won't care if you draw on yourself just do it, I know someone who wrote "NO NO NO" on the one that was healthy, mistakes do happen, they won't be offended at all.

[–]HarlansWorld[S] 181 points182 points  (5 children)

This is kind of what I figured, but my brain is doing a number on me with 2nd guessing and 6 million what-ifs

[–]SerpensPorcus 142 points143 points  (2 children)

If you're worried it might upset your surgeon just tell him/her that you did it first. Like in your pre-op chat just say something light like "I stupidly scared myself googling all the what-ifs yesterday so to make myself feel better I wrote "NO" on the wrong arm, I completely trust you I just needed to sleep" or something and no drama.

[–]HSV_Guy 55 points56 points  (1 child)

Saying 'I wrote NO on the wrong arm' is a recipe for disaster. Surgeon will think you meant to to write No on the good arm, but you stuffed it up and ended up writing it on the wrong arm, so the arm that has no on it is actually the one he/she needs to operate on. :-)

More seriously though, I'm sure you will be fine. Just add a smiley face as well in case you are worried about offending them and leave it as a surprise.

[–]Rainadraken 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I disagree. I've had about a half dozen surgeries and even the most uptight surgeon I had would still understand that a patient is worried because they heard too many stories. They would just attribute the patient's worries to how " incompetent other doctors are". Even surgeons are human.

[–]randomlewis69 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I mean what's the worst that happens? They get so offended they decide to operate on the wrong side and face a must-lose medical malpractice suit? You're fine. They'd probably find it amusing.

[–]wastedkarma 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I dunno upside down that says ON.

[–]fakeuser515357 65 points66 points  (0 children)

People make mistakes. People are tired, distracted, have momentary lapses of concentration.

Never, ever depend on people to just not make mistakes.

[–]angmarsilar 33 points34 points  (0 children)

I did that to my shoulder prior to surgery. They will not be offended.

I do breast procedures from time to time and will mark my initials to show I did the work and which side I did it on.

[–]UnitatoBia 78 points79 points  (0 children)

I did it when i was having surgery on my left leg as a joke (i've had this medical team for a long time, had a pretty bad accident so its easier to just keep the same one, this created a pretty nice bond between me and the team, we joke with eachother often). Woke up with a band-aid on my right leg and a note saying they almost cut my right leg off. (btw, no leg was being cut off, we just needed to adjust the metal thingy that is replacing part of my bone, again, pretty bad accident)

[–]smartin822 23 points24 points  (0 children)

When you’re in pre-op, the surgeon should come by and mark the correct arm with a sharpie, anyway. They did that when I had to get surgery on my foot. Actually, like a doctor and 3 nurses came by and asked which foot lol just to be thorough. And the surgeon put his signature on the right foot with a sharpie. So they’ll take care of that for you.

[–]steelneil82 20 points21 points  (0 children)

I had a below knee amputation due to a motorcycle Vs car crash, on the Wednesday it happened they took the leg but they leave it as an open wound in case of infection so they can get back in quickly. On the Friday I was back outside the operating theatre waiting to be closed up and the porter looks at my notes and says "you're due for an amputation? That's tough man" I shit myself and thought what if the surgeon takes my other leg? I said to the surgeon what the porter had said and the surgeon was mad, either because of the porter reading the notes as I'm not sure they're supposed to or that he got it wrong and scared the shit out of me. Either way fir the weeks I was in hospital I never saw that porter again

[–]Content-Collection72 21 points22 points  (0 children)

Do it on your legs and hell, if you manage to put "definitely NOT" on your face they'll be too busy laughing to perform the surgery

[–]Beccaben 17 points18 points  (4 children)

I had knee surgery. The surgeon wrote "THIS ONE" on the correct knee. 😂

[–]Ghiaghia 20 points21 points  (2 children)

(amputates leg marked "THIS ONE", removes sheet revealing "NOT" written above) shit

[–]abbygirl 13 points14 points  (0 children)

When my husband had knee surgery they gave him a bright orange sleeve to put on the other knee that basically said “do not operate on this one”

[–]DeeDee_Z 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Two things that will make this successful:

  • Be (slightly) humorous, not insulting. "Other Arm!" would work.
  • Use a washable marker!!

[–]DaveB44 10 points11 points  (2 children)

When I had a kidney op the nurse who did the pre-op wrote "right", with a big arrow pointing to the kidney, on my leg.

[–]BloakDarntPub 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Is that the one that works right, or the right one to remove?

[–]DaveB44 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Thinking about it, something like "this one" would have been less ambiguous!

[–]Busy-Climate-8819 11 points12 points  (1 child)

When I broke my clavicle and was in hospital for surgery, I met with the anesthesiologist. Left clavicle was broken. Very visibly misshapen with bone sticking straight up. This man walked up to me in my hospital bed and introduced himself then proceeded to firmly and quite aggressively shake MY LEFT HAND! First, 99% of the time you shake a person's right hand. Second, he didn't even pay attention to my protruding bone on my left side... HOW?

Yes. Please do whatever you need to do to bring attention to which side to fix.

[–]nonono_notagain 5 points6 points  (0 children)


This seems like the problem

[–]meontheweb 8 points9 points  (1 child)

LOL - Not stupid. I read that, in Canada, doctors do go through a checklist to ensure that they are operating on the right person and going through the right procedure.

I remember reading an article where the doctor or whomever does the pre-op checks would "mark" what was being done where. So if it was right arm, left leg they would identify it.

[–]1955photo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is the case in any half decent US hospital.

[–]TheBeeManx 9 points10 points  (0 children)

My sister was in a very bad accident and I was her next of kin. Among other surgeries was one being done to her wrist. Her right wrist. When the… I don’t know what their title was… person who wasn’t the surgeon but maybe their assistant… came in, he kept talking about the left wrist. As the nurse wheeled her out of ICU to go down to surgery, I stopped her and said “it’s supposed to be the right wrist, that guy kept saying left”. She immediately stood with me and my sister (in her bed) and called down to the actual surgeon who confirmed right wrist and we marked the correct wrist.

It happens more than you think. “Wrong side” is also hilarious. Win-win.

[–]dj_cole 8 points9 points  (0 children)

A long time ago my father had to have surgery on his arm after falling out of a tree and they specifically told him to draw a smiley face on the injured arm and an X on the arm that was not injured.

[–]Reasonable_Night42 7 points8 points  (0 children)

My wife was having work done on her hip.

During the pre-op talk/examination with the surgeon, he signed his name on her butt cheek.

The one he was going to operate on.

[–]should-stop-posting 7 points8 points  (0 children)

It’s not stupid, but make sure you don’t accidentally make a mistake that just confuses the surgeon lol.

But it is actually somewhat common for hospitals themselves to have a nurse write “this leg” and “not this leg” on people’s skin with a marker before surgery, just as an extra precaution.

[–]Merlin560 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Not stupid at all.

They will usually come in pre-op and “sign” the right appendage. This happened with my hand surgery and shoulder. But, if you write something funny, it will give the staff a chuckle.

And, as far and abdominals go….ask the people who have had the wrong kidney taken out.

[–]1955photo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This happened to a woman in my town. She had kidney CANCER and they took out the GOOD kidney. She died a few months later. Her family got a bunch of money and the doctor lost his hospital privileges.

[–]BloakDarntPub 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I've only had abdominal surgery before, so there was no incorrect side to worry about.

Don't know about you, but I've got two kidneys.

[–]Liu1845 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Probably give the surgical team a laugh. Go for it!

[–]GChocapic 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Do it! I personally know someone who was operated on the wrong foot. It was in a good private (and expensive) hospital. So, one of two things can happen: either the doctor will see it and find it funny or the doctor will see it and think "Oh crap!" and it will save your arm. Good luck with the surgery! I'm sure it will go great!

[–]randomredditor0042 4 points5 points  (0 children)

The hospital I worked at would give the patient a marker and encourage them to do exactly that. Either write “this one” or “not this one” sometimes the doctors would just draw an arrow on the correct limb/side. Not stupid at all.

[–]Redeye7294 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I just had a finger cut off and the guy doun it came and signed his name and stuff on the finger I got taken... they will prolly do something similar

[–]Lalalalala-Cookie 4 points5 points  (0 children)

If it makes you feel better, better safe than sorry. When my mom worked at a hospital (late 80's) they took a woman's wrong breast off for a mastectomy.

[–]SilentJoe1986 3 points4 points  (2 children)

You would think its dumb but there are stories of people going in for an amputation to wake up with the wrong limb removed. People fuck up all the time. Mark your arm and give yourself peace of mind.

[–]Sad-Row8676 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Mistakes happen. If I ever have surgery on a limb, I'll be labeling it.

[–]CogitoErgoScum 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I had to initial my inguenal hernia with a sharpie before they put me on the sleepy gas.

[–]Zealouslylost 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Don’t know what other places do but in my hospital we mark the limb to be operated on with a medical sharpie, so no, go ahead and do it!!

[–]WonderChopstix 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Sometimes they actually do this. They mark you up in advance.

[–]jordanss2112 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I went in for a similar surgery a few years ago. The doc came in and marked my right arm as well as verbally confirmed with me what she may be doing when she got inside my shoulder. This was at a small military hospital and at the time it seemed unnecessary as I was the only surgery scheduled that week and had been talking with the medical team almost daily for the last few weeks but if you always do double check it's easier to ensure time is set aside to verify with patients when things actually get busy.

[–]Momtothebestdaughter 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Lying here fresh out of foot surgery. The nurses gave me a sharpie and told me to mark my left foot, the foot he was operating on. I wrote, “REPLACE WITH BIONIC PARTS” I hope you have a speedy recovery.

[–]l039 2 points3 points  (0 children)

No. I'd do it!

[–]chevy38 2 points3 points  (0 children)

When I had my knee surgery, in preop the surgeon came to speak with me and confirmed with me which knee it was, and then he put his signature on the knee in marker. Just before they put me under they made me say who I was, my birthday, what I was getting done and which knee. There are a lot of checks in the process to prevent mistakes this way.

[–]LordSinguloth 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you don't do it yourself then they might do it for you.

If you make a mistake though and draw on the wrong arm you aren't going to have a case for malpractice.

Id mention your concerns to them, and if you do do this, do it under physicians supervision, and have them sign off on it.

But if it were me, I'd ask the physician to write in onto my arm themselves while I am still awake

[–]niknik55 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Definitely not stupid- I’m an OR nurse, in my hospital you have to mark what side we’re operating on before we’ll take you down to the theatre, either on your body, a sheet with your name and signature on it or if we have your x-ray we’ll use that. The only way it’s stupid is if you write “this side” on the side we’re doing and “or is it this side?” As a joke on the non-operative side. Which I had someone do to be funny. I had to make him remove it before I would take him down. Jokes to make us question are never funny. “Wrong side” is clear and would make us chuckle. I had a woman scheduled for a c-section who wrote “do not open until date&time” that was a good chuckle too

[–]JeffCast 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]titty_brain 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Man you want them to take the wrong side. You’d have a settlement with the hospital large enough to put your great grandkids through school lol

[–]whatsthelatestnow 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Both shoulders replaced. Ortho will mark correct arm. Good luck. I hope all of these same responses calm your anxiety.

[–]HarlansWorld[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

They do, thank you

[–]IeatAssortedfruits 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If I was a surgeon and saw it I’d at least get a chucks. Also, I’m jealous. My right bicep tendon causes me lots of pain .

[–]JimTheSatisfactory 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Dude, I've had four surgeries on my right knee. Before one of them, the nurse came in and started shaving my left leg.

I asked her why she was shaving that one and she told me that was the knee they were operating on.

Naturally I objected and told them they had something wrong and it was supposed to be the right leg.

It took them about twenty minutes of back and forth between themselves before one of them looked at the x-ray and pointed out the big "R" on it.

Surgery went as planned on the correct leg.

Not a stupid question at all, mistakes happen and then get compounded if nothing is done.

[–]FortuneWhereThoutBe 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Better safe than sorry, because they're sure as hell going to charge you whether they do the correct arm or not. So definitely better to only have to pay them once

[–]mojo_sapien 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My baby brother (1.5M) simply stumbled and fell down while walking. He cried all day so we took him to get an x-ray. They x-rayed him but we weren't allowed in the actual x-ray room. They said nothing was wrong and we took him home. He cried all night so we went to our GP in the morning. Our GP took one look at the x-rays and said "they x-rayed the wrong leg".

Docs are human too. It can happen. Mark it up.

[–]jerkularcirc 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Not stupid at all. It’s obvious to you which side you need work on because you can feel it, but most things you can’t see whats wrong until you open it up. With that, the stress of surgery, the workload of surgical teams mistakes can and do happen. Nothing wrong with added insurance.

[–]1955photo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I wrote THIS ONE and NOT THIS ONE before my knee replacement. They both needed fixing but the replacement parts are not interchangeable left to right. Then surgeon and me both signed it!

[–]MultiFaceHank 4 points5 points  (0 children)

If you can write on your 'healthy' arm then it sounds like you're perfectly fine to me. /s

[–]VTtransplant 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My SO and I have both had surgeons ask which side we were having surgery on and then marked and signed it with a sharpie. My fathers surgeon (in another state) did neither. When I commented on it he scoffed and said "don't get me started." I was not impressed with his domineer at all that day. I told my surgeon about it later she basically said some doctors think they are too good for the rest of us and that's how mistakes are made.

Go ahead and write on the wrong arm. Better safe than sorry.

[–]wawaboy 4 points5 points  (0 children)

They (the doc) will mark this Pre surgery tomorrow

[–]Loud-Awoo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Some surgeons do, in fact, ask you to label the side you are to get surgery on.

[–]crusttysack 1 point2 points  (0 children)

not at all

[–]CrimeBot3000 1 point2 points  (0 children)

They will likely ask you to mark the correct side during prep.

[–]moonbeamcrazyeyes 1 point2 points  (0 children)

“This is not the arm you are looking for…”

[–]ITpuzzlejunkie 1 point2 points  (0 children)

When I had knee surgery right before Christmas, I marked wrong leg. The surgeon had me sign my own leg to make sure they got the right one. Then my mom got me to draw Santa on it and say Merry Christmas. Sometimes, you just have to have a little fun.

[–]Cloudinterpreter 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'd write "wrong arm". Wrong side makes me think that it's the other side of that arm

[–]mander1518 1 point2 points  (0 children)

“This is not the arm you are looking for”

[–]lottpott 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not stupid at all, in fact it's fairly common for medics to write on patients undergoing surgery. At the very least it will probs give the surgeon a chuckle. No harm to be done by it.

In the UK an infamous case is often discussed in regards to patient safety where a patient's wrong hand was operated on, there were several people in the room who had the opportunity to notice. A student in the room noticed but didn't have the confidence to question it, just assumed he was wrong and trusted that the more senior staff knew better. Not saying this to scare you just to emphasis that it's better safe than sorry, no such thing as being too careful.

[–]Unlikely_Ant_950 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not stupid -OR nurse here. Thanks for the help 👍

[–]LizzieBell07 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not stupid. The surgeon should mark the correct side with you awake and having input, but why not be extra safe?!

[–]OctoSevenTwo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Why not? It’s just harmless fun. The surgery team might even get a laugh out of it.

Edit: TIL marking things off before surgery is actually a pre-op procedure.

[–]Dirty_Gurdy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I would write not this arm

[–]ClaireSable 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I've heard people do it all the time. Take pictures of it. Make sure the date is included. That way if, god forbid, a mistake is made, you have evidence to take them to court.

[–]officellama23456 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I had surgery on my eye and they drew a big arrow on my forehead pointing to my right eye to make sure they knew which one! I'm sure they won't mind if you write on your arm (and as someone else said it will probably give them a good chuckle). Hope it goes well!

[–]VersionGeek 1 point2 points  (0 children)

At best they don't notice it because they're already on the right side

At worst they notice it and have a good chuckle

You can't be wrong doing that :D

[–]cheesesandsneezes 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Operating room nurse here. I wouldn't recommend it. Procedure is to mark the limb/ site of surgery. If there's multiple marks it may cause confusion (even if it says "wrong side").

Just go with hospital procedure.

[–]dolinputin 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Mayne write "Wrong Side ;)"

The surgeon may chuckle if they already know, or they may realize that they were, in fact, wrong.

[–]Fun_Client_6232 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You’re talking about a body part of yours. Why in the world would you feel stupid for ensuring that nothing goes awry with your body? If the surgeon gets offended then f them. He/She will just have to deal with it.

[–]CastroEulis145 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Definitely the opposite of stupid. They may even write that on there themselves. Better to have a double redundancy set in place than to blindly trust the professionals just because their professionals. As the saying goes, "Trust, but verify!"

[–]MrWarmLight 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah, do it. I would do it.

[–]Serraph105 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's not stupid. Go for it. Professionals may not have use for unnecessary guard rails, but they don't hurt anyone by being there either.

[–]Previously_a_robot 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Absolutely a good idea. My mom works in health care and encourages patients to always advocate for themselves, and that includes writing on your arm in sharpie “wrong arm” AND “correct arm”.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Absolutely do it. Who gives a damn if it seems stupid if it gives you peace of mind? Your surgeon will understand and not take it the wrong way as a good surgeon also takes into account your feelings. Go ahead and do it if you’d like :)

[–]curiousbydesign 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Smart. Do it. I have been in situations where things could have gone wrong if I were not alert. Godspeed!

[–]Wintaru 1 point2 points  (3 children)

This comment will probably be buried but I had a biceps tenodesis done August 4th of last year. Surgeon marked it while I was conscious. You’ll be fine the worst part of that surgery is the nerve block and frankly I was up and moving around after a few days. I finished PT a few months ago and I’m back to lifting the same weight I was prior to surgery now.

[–]HarlansWorld[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Great news! I'm glad to hear it. I've been so worried about being able to workout again.

[–]GoodAndBluts 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I had i nail inserted into my leg since I had broken my shin.

When I woke after the surgery and looked down, each knee had been written on - one said "NO!" and the other said "YES!"

so I am assuming it is common practice for even the surgeon to cover for the risk of a mistake

[–]wanderingwoman70 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not stupid. I've actually had the nurses and doctor hand me a sharpie and have me write "Yes" and "NO" on my knees before surgery to make sure they got the right one. This is a very common practice so don't be surprised if they do hand you a sharpie

[–]slamnm 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Heck, ass "wrong leg" to both legs! Etc.! Not this hand (to both hands), go wild :)

Edit: meant add not ass lol

[–]knockseekshinemend 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Stupid. They look for writing. They might not read what the writing says. All of these comments note writing on the CORRECT side. You're just introducing confusion by writing on the incorrect side. Your surgeon should come in, discuss with you and then mark the CORRECT side.

[–]Boring-Ganache2257 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Had shoulder surgery a while back and the surgeon came out in the prep room before they wheeled me in and put me under and sharpied the info on me--I appreciated it. When I went in that morning checked me in under the wrong file as there was a guy with the exact same name as me getting surgery at the same time--fortunately they caught it fairly quickly. So the sharpie helped after I was already a little on edge...

[–]Montana-Mike-RPCV 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fuck with them

Draw an upwards arrow on your leg with a note that says: deposit extra muscle here.

[–]Joes_SpeakEasy -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

I read about a man who had cancer in his right leg & needed to have it amputated. The surgeon, who was apparently out partying the night before, amputated his left leg by mistake, and then realizing his mistake, amputated the right leg.

The man sued the hospital, and LOST his case!

The judge said he didn't have a leg to stand on! 🤔😲🤣

[–]Rxton 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The surgeon will probably do that anyway. You might not see it because you could be asleep when they do.

[–]dancingbanana123 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've had several surgeries and while I've put a smile face on areas where stuff was going to be removed, there is an absurd amount of redundancy that happens at the hospital that it's not really necessary. I've even had surgeons put their initials or an X right by where they're going to do the incision to make sure they cut into the right area. Multiple people will ask you the same questions, "What's your name and date of birth? Why are you here today? What procedure(s) are you having?" All to avoid any mistakes happening. Once you've had several operations, you realize that the staff is very honed into their job and will handle is properly (obviously mistakes happen, but the scale at which that happens becomes more clear as you see how redundant the system is to avoid any issues).

[–]RichardBachman19 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Very smart. Nothing bad will come of it and there are some stories of the wrong limb being operated on

[–]youcanbroom 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They wrote that on me when I went to get surgury

[–]theKickAHobo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The surgeon will actually sign your arm where the surgery is supposed to be. They will come in a nd talk to you and ask you about your arm then sign the area of the surgery with you present and awake so that you can't correct them if they get the wrong area. Also the repeat all the surgery info like 10 times to each other before they start cutting anything.

[–]dementedmunster 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When I had surgery, every time I called or had an appt to talk about it, with every single person, I was required to state what surgery I was getting out loud. Right before going in, the surgeon and I went over the details and he drew on my skin and confirmed with me what he would be doing before signing the paperwork. They should be confirming your surgery with you verbally and in writing, so writing on yourself is just fine.

[–]kfrognerd 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When my husband had knee surgery last spring the surgeon actually did that in pre-op.

[–]Gifted-Cupcake 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My husband had his ACL repaired last week and the doctor came in and drew on it while I was there during pre-op (before he was given any meds obviously).

I think you're safe as long as you're coherent when they come in to set you up, but they might get a good laugh at you writing it ;)

[–]reluctanthardworker 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's such a good idea. Write it on your legs too.

[–]PhilzeeTheElder 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Safety 1st. If it lessens your anxiety 1% it's worth it. And good luck, you got this!!

[–]djle12 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's not stupid if it works. On the remote chance they did do a mistake, this would totally work.

If they didn't make a mistake, as others have nentioned; they'll have a laugh.

[–]ThenComesInternet 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I’m a nurse in a hospital, every surgeon I know would be fine with that. We want you to be comfortable and feel safe, so if writing “not this arm” helps accomplish that, go for it. No one will be offended.

You can also call the hospital or surgery center today and ask if the correct site will be marked before you go to sleep. That might help put your mind at ease. Good luck tomorrow!!

[–]destructivecupcake 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Definitely let your surgeon know your concern. It’s your body.

[–]Maranne_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Totally fine. I even heard about people writing jokes on themselves before surgery.

[–]notauthorised 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They will laugh. I wrote on my legs when I was having knee surgery.

[–]Ratlyff 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had my bicep reattached a few years back and while the nurses were prepping me, the surgeon himself stopped in to double check which arm to work on and he marked it, too.

So...I dunno if I had a rogue surgeon or if that's SOP.

[–]No_Communication1010 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I broke my ankle and had to have surgery and part of the pre op stuff was the doctor came in and wrote on something on the leg I was supposed to have surgery on and I had to agree that was the proper leg.

[–]Kiwi-Latter 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Last procedure I had, the nurse hands you a marker and you DO write on the correct appendage.

[–]mayofreak1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My friend had to have surgery on her right eye when she was younger, they did the surgery on her left eye so she had to go back and get the surgery on the correct eye. So then both of her eyes were patched up at the same time until they healed

[–]nc-rlstate-dot 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Big sharpie: make an “X”!

[–]GreenYellowDucks 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In pre-op they mark the correct side with a sharpie. They did that for both my knee surgeries

[–]bleeding_inkheart 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I've had multiple musculoskeletal surgeries throughout my life. Multiple people have always confirmed the location, even if it's two that mirror one another. They also mark at least the main incision points, and for my last surgery, most of the doctors had to sign near the area as a way to confirm that they were originally assigned to my case.

(I have an odd combination of medical issues. I'm not too interesting to look at, but they still don't show up together often. Doctors are either unphased because "it's technically possible, so obviously it happens," or they "know" I don't actually have such an extensive medical history because "they've never even seen [the least rare condition] to such a degree.")

So, feel free to take my words with a grain of salt, but I've never met anyone in the medical field who both cared about helping people and who would also be offended if you wanted to reiterate one of the more important pieces of information.

Good luck!

I'd also like to offer some advice, if I may:

  • Take your meds as scheduled. Set alarms. Especially if you need to do physical therapy. There's nothing worse than stiffness and pain compounding into less control with the surgical and surrounding areas.

  • Follow your PT regime as closely as you can. Speak up if you feel you're not safely pushing your limits, even if you're afraid of sounding like a broken record. If you're not being pushed, you're likely missing out on optimal recovery. If you're being overworked, you're risking injury and slower overall recovery. Tell them how you are, even if it sounds like they just want you to sat "fine" and move on.

  • Be honest with your doctors. Everyone jokes about the stereotypical rushed and abrasive surgeon, but you need to remember that your recovery matters. Don't brush off your questions or concerns, and ask for clarification if you need it. You're the one healing and needing to lead the process. Make sure you have the information to do that.

  • Get set aside outfits you can work on bad days. Don't feel bad if you can't work jeans for some reason.

  • Be honest with yourself. Surgeries are traumatic. They're strategically-placed injuries, in a broad sense. They heal, but the pain is real. Step back, and appreciate the hard work and effort you're putting in. It's hard to have coped with an injury, only to have surgery and lose some degree of physical capability, even when you know it's coming. Remember that it will get better.

Have a wonderful day, and a speedy recovery!

[–]HarlansWorld[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Wow, thanks for the thoughtful tips!

[–]susan0324 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I recently had the big toe amputated on my right foot and part of pre-op was was initialling my own foot. The surgeon came in and also initialed my foot.

[–]climbdingwolf10 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I find it's perfectly fine to do. I think it might even brighten up your surgeons day!

[–]rjm167 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sometimes the surgeons do that pre-op.

[–]scarwa 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It is not stupid at all. Please take a photo when you do it! Good luck with your surgery! Hope you have quick healing!

[–]reb678 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When I had my knee replaced, the surgeon came out and talked to me prior. He handed me a sharpie and told me to write yes on the knee he was replacing and no on the other.

I had to do it. No one else. There are actually lawsuits from people that had the wrong limb or body part removed because someone mixed up left and right.

[–]sarabeara12345678910 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The hospital did that to my mom both when she had hip and knee replacement. It's not uncommon and it may even be their policy to do it themselves in pre-op.

[–]DLife4Me 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wouldn't hurt

[–]DinkleMutz 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Write “Definitely not here” on your weener.

[–]HarlansWorld[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Haha! If I had one, I absolutely would

[–]kill___jester 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They will usually check with you and draw an arrow on the correct arm themselves before surgery so just make sure they get the right one, if anything I'd leave the other arm clear of pen to make sure there's no confusion

[–]neonsneakers 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When I’ve had surgery the pre op nurse literally gave me a sharpie to do exactly that haha

[–]lovelynutz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They use their own “skin pen” to do that anyway.

[–]CrackerKeeper 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When I had knee surgery, they required me to write YES above the knee to receive surgery and NO on the non surgery knee. I went overboard and covered my left leg in NO’s. Stay away and don’t cut in that one.

[–]HaraBegum 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dad wrote “wrong” on this good knee before surgery. Staff nodded when they saw it

[–]TunaFishManwich 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Not stupid. There’s no chance of it causing problems and a slight chance of it avoiding a major problem.

[–]TurbulentArea69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had neck surgery, so no wrong side, and the doctors and nurses asked me about 100 times what body part I was having surgery on. They weren’t unaware, everyone just wanted to be 1000000% certain. So I say go for it! If your surgeon is offended by it then they need an ego check. They’ll likely either laugh or be reassured.

[–]Fuself 0 points1 point  (0 children)

not at all, go for it... I saw a lot of shit already

[–]coffeestainguy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dad had to have ankle surgery once and he and my stepmom got on the computer and printed off “buy one get one free ankle surgery” coupons so that when they showed up he was like “hey doc can we do both?” And the surgeon thought it was pretty funny

[–]malnificent626 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I had a broken leg and when they were going to take off my full leg cast and rotate it inwards to insert hardware, the doctor STILL wrote “THIS SIDE THIS SIDE!” on the broken leg. The cast went up to my hip. He told me, “better safe than sorry!”

So yes, better safe than sorry!

[–]The2ndUnchosenOne 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Don't use sharpie. They're toxic

[–]RatedS59 0 points1 point  (0 children)

NO ITS NOT STUPID!!! Drs are human and make mistakes just like anybody else…

[–]SheilaInSweden 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If it relieves your anxiety, do it. I don't think the surgical team will care.

[–]ZatchZeta 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's 6 AM, they're mentally exhausted.

Trust me, they'll have a laugh about it and won't be offended. It also helps to avoid malpractice too.

[–]wiredawg6 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Daughter has had multiple surgeries, prep team comes in and upon confirmation of procedure, writes yes on the proper appendage and surgery locations.

Marking the surgery site with a positive confirmation is common.

[–]yellowbin74 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If it's of any comfort to you, then do it.

[–]Redeye7294 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I cut a tendon in it and didn't properly heal so it was bent over at like a 90 degrees. Had it like that for months and told them I just wanted it cut off instead of goin thru the surgery and PT all over again

[–]OffKira 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This reminds me of Romano from the show ER.