Surgical Errors: What You Need to Know
Posted on Sunday, June 10th, 2018 at 10:37 pm
Modern medicine is truly incredible, and doctors are now able to do things that we could have never imagined just a few decades ago. Especially when it comes to our surgical capabilities, robotic arms, implantable devices, and minimally invasive procedures are becoming more the norm. However, that doesn’t mean that surgery is without its risks, or that things never go wrong. A 2016 study showed that medical error may be the third biggest cause of death in America today, and surgical mistakes are a major contributor to this statistic!
Despite the efforts of doctors, hospitals, and administrators, negligence is still part of the surgical landscape. Here are some of the most common surgical errors reported:
- Leaving foreign objects (surgical instruments, gauze, gloves, etc…) inside a patient’s body
- Misdosing of anaesthesia, leading to brain/nerve damage, patients waking up during surgery, lack of oxygen, and/or death
- Damage to organs, nerves, or blood vessels (punctures, nicks, severing)
- Post-surgical infection due to any of the above, or poor hygiene practices
- Operation on the wrong body part
We’re led to believe that surgeons and hospital staff are always well-trained, well-paid, and can always be trusted. Nobody goes into surgery expecting something to go wrong. However, nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. each year are negatively affected by surgical error, which can have many causes. Here are some common potential causes of surgical errors:
- Inadequate pre-operative planning- Medical staff fails to gather the right information on the patient to properly assess their risks.
- Miscommunication- Surgeons, nurses, and other providers may fail to communicate with each other, mark the wrong incision site, give too much/too little medication, or fail to account for all surgical equipment before and after the operation.
- Incompetence- Not all medical staff members are well-trained, confident in their jobs, or have the skills needed to perform certain procedures safely.
- Fatigue/overwork- Many doctors and nurses work very long shifts, and don’t get adequate rest or nutrition. This can lead to fatigue-related errors.
- Under the influence- Some medical professionals use drugs to stay alert, to numb pain, or to cope with job stress, and these drugs can interfere with surgical precision and safety.
Some surgical errors may only result in minimal discomfort and have a simple fix, while others may result in lifelong paralysis, disability, or even death. Thankfully, there are many wonderful medical malpractice attorneys in Atlanta who can help you get justice for your injuries. Reach out to us at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today for your free consultation.