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What are the Most Common Surgical Errors?

July 10, 2021

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have determined that preventable medical errors are that the third leading cause of death in this country. Medical mistakes can arise in various ways, including diagnostic issues, medication mistakes, infections caused in the health care setting, and more. However, there are also times when errors are made during a surgical procedure. Here, we want to discuss some common surgical mistakes that occur. We also want to discuss the importance of working with a skilled medical malpractice attorney in the event that you are injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional.

The Errors That Should Never Occur

When we are discussing surgical errors, we have to bring up the fact that no surgical procedure comes without risks. Even a relatively minor or routine procedure can result in dangerous consequences for the patient. However, there are some mistakes that should absolutely never occur in the operating room. In fact, the errors that we are going to list here are considered “never events” because they should not happen at any point if proper procedures are followed.

Leaving foreign objects in a patient’s body

Surgeons and surgical teams use a range of objects when they are operating on a patient. However, if a member of the team does not follow the accounting process during the surgery, items can get left behind inside a patient, which can lead to serious infections and internal injuries at a later date.

Performing surgery on the wrong patient

As crazy as it may seem, it is not terribly uncommon for surgeons to perform surgery on the wrong patient. To be clear, this is not entirely the fault of the surgeon; this is more of a systemic failure of the entire surgical process at any particular institution where this event occurs. If a surgical team does not perform pre-operative verification, or if there is miscommunication between surgeons and staff members, this type of mixup can be devastating. 

Performing surgery on the wrong side of the patient

Wrong-side surgeries occur fairly often each year in the United States. For an example of how this could affect somebody, suppose that the person goes in to have a diseased kidney removed only to find out that the healthy kidney was removed instead. 

Mistakes during anesthesia

Anesthesiologists are highly trained medical doctors that assist surgeons and other medical professionals. However, there is a delicate balance when it comes to administering anesthesia. If too much anesthesia is administered, patients can get too little oxygen which can cause brain damage and even death. If insufficient anesthesia is given, patients could wake up during surgery and experience extreme pain.

Nerve damage

When a surgeon is working inside of a patient’s body, they are using very sharp objects. One little mistake can result in a surgeon severing nerves that should not have even been touched in the first place. This can lead to a lifetime of pain or even disability for a patient.

Working With a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury as a result of the careless or negligent actions of a surgeon or surgical staff member, you need to reach out to a skilled medical malpractice lawyer immediately. An attorney will be able to conduct a complete investigation into the incident. They will work to prove liability, enlist the assistance of trusted health care professionals, and help you recover maximum compensation for your losses.