You like to imagine that the medical professional performing surgery on you is infallible, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Foreign objects can be left behind, and sometimes surgical procedures are performed on the wrong patient. These errors are referred to as “never events” because they’re events that never should have occurred.
A study completed by John Hopkins Medicine discovered that 10% of all deaths in the U.S. were due to errors made by medical professionals. With thousands of surgical errors occurring every year, it’s no wonder many patients are nervous about the possibility of undergoing surgery. Keep reading to learn some of the most common surgical errors that result in malpractice cases.
The Most Common Surgical Errors
Surgical errors involving anesthesia occur frequently and often have devastating consequences. Since mishandling anesthesia during surgery can cause catastrophic harm, it’s unsurprising that the most common surgical errors involve improperly managed anesthesia.
Too Little Anesthesia
Too little anesthesia can cause a horrific patient experience. Patients who aren’t given enough anesthesia may wake up during the surgery.
Waking during surgery is a traumatizing and painful experience and puts the patient at risk for further injury.
Too Much Anesthesia
When too much anesthesia is administered, the patient can suffer from oxygen deprivation. Lack of oxygen can result in fatalities and brain damage, making this surgical mistake especially dangerous.
Individuals who have had anesthesia administered incorrectly may suffer cognitive or motor disabilities for the rest of their lives. If you or a loved one were injured due to an anesthesia error, you may wish to contact an attorney to see if your situation could be a malpractice case.
Leaving a Foreign Object Inside a Patient’s Body
Some serious errors involve surgical instruments being left inside the surgical site. Foreign objects left inside the body can cause severe injuries and even death.
This type of surgical error can leave patients with damaged internal organs, nerve damage, and life-threatening infections. Not to mention the fact that this type of medical negligence can result in the patient having to have a secondary procedure done to remove the item. Since there’s no such thing as a simple surgery, going into the operating room again puts the patient at increased risk for complications.
Performing Surgery on the Wrong Body Site
The idea that a surgeon might perform a procedure on the wrong part of a patient’s body may seem absurd, but unfortunately, it does occur. Operating on the wrong side of the body can have devastating results, such as a surgeon removing the wrong limb when performing an amputation or taking out a healthy kidney instead of the diseased one.
Since removing the wrong body part isn’t something that can be easily remedied, this type of medical negligence has long-lasting repercussions on the patient’s life. Therefore, any individual who suffers from preventable mistakes, such as operating on the wrong side of the body or removing the wrong body part, should contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss the details of their case and seek justice for the wrong they have experienced.
Completing the Wrong Surgery
When you go under anesthesia to have a specific operation, you expect to awake having received the appropriate medical treatment. However, the effects can be devastating if your surgeon performs the wrong surgery. Poor communication is commonly cited as a reason for the wrong procedure being completed.
Still, when you’re suffering medical complications due to a surgeon’s error, you care less about why it happened and more about making it right. So even if your injury was not life-threatening, it is worth contacting an attorney specializing in surgical injury cases. The attorney will evaluate your situation and see if you can receive compensation for the unnecessary surgery.
What Causes a Surgical Error?
There are numerous reasons why surgical errors occur and result in a patient suffering an unnecessary injury. Since most surgical error cases are caused by preventable behaviors, when surgeons perform medical procedures, they need to be conscientious with their actions to avoid errors that can cause patient injury.
Medical Staff Using Drugs or Alcohol
Since surgeries involve complex maneuvers and careful movements, it’s easy enough for surgical errors to happen when surgeons are working sober. However, when drugs or alcohol feature in the equation, severe surgical mistakes are unavoidable.
A doctor who practices under the influence fails to provide an appropriate standard of care to their patient. If you believe your doctor treated you while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, seek legal guidance immediately.
Incorrect Surgical Equipment
Sometimes a surgical error is caused by a surgeon using the wrong surgical equipment. Whether this occurs due to a lack of training or because the patient was placed in the wrong operating room, the results can be awful.
Severe complications and even death can occur from surgeons using the wrong tools during a procedure. In addition, a surgical error caused by using the wrong tools can cause difficulties for the patient, such as an increased risk of infection, more significant scarring, and nerve damage.
Surgical errors like performing surgery on the wrong location on the patient’s body or completing surgery on the wrong patient altogether are often linked to poor communication among healthcare workers. Although a hospital can be a high-stress work environment, doctors and nurses still have a responsibility to ensure that they communicate effectively with one another regarding patient care.
Surgical errors can also occur in surgery centers due to communication difficulties, even though the environment is typically less chaotic. There is no excuse for communication problems to cause patient injury, and healthcare practitioners should be held accountable for avoidable surgical errors due to a failure to transmit information appropriately.
Consider a Malpractice Lawsuit
Did you suffer an injury due to a surgical procedure? Or did your surgeon commit one of the most common surgical errors? If so, you might have grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. Sometimes, even individuals who experienced health complications due to defective medical devices may be able to file medical malpractice claims.
Medical malpractice attorneys help patients protect their rights and seek compensation when they experience surgical errors due to the incompetence of medical professionals. Scheduling a free case evaluation with an attorney will allow them to review the details of your case and advise you on if your incident qualifies as medical malpractice.
Keep in Mind
It’s important to remember that not all surgical errors are malpractice. Medical malpractice cases require the medical professional to fail to follow an expected standard of care, resulting in an injury to the patient.
Contact a Kansas City Attorney
While stories about individuals accidentally having the wrong site operated on or having healthy organs removed unnecessarily sound like horror stories designed to scare patients, serious mistakes like these are frighteningly common. If you experienced harm due to the negligent behavior of a healthcare professional, you deserve justice, and your pursuit of justice could prevent this from happening to someone else.
Make your voice heard by filing a malpractice claim. Contact Wendt Law Firm P.C. today at 816-542-6734.