According to a study by WebMD, more than 4000 surgical mistakes occur every year. That’s a shocking number that would make any patient nervous. Many of these mistakes are entirely preventable and result from a medical professional’s deviation from the standard of care.
Common Types of Surgical Errors
While there are many possible types of surgical errors, here’s a look at some types that come up frequently in medical malpractice claims:
- Foreign object—it’s more common than people think that surgical instruments get left inside the body after the surgical incisions have been sutured. While most hospitals require that all surgical instruments and tools be counted before closing up the patient, not all do and miscounts are always possible. Surgical complications and infections can arise from things like scalpels, clamps, sponges, and gauze being left inside the body.
- Wrong site surgery—occurs when surgery is performed on the wrong body part or organ. For example, there have been cases where a patient has the wrong limb amputated. Hospitals should take precautions to prevent these types of errors from occurring.
- Damage to internal organs—during surgery a neighboring organ or tissue can be damaged if a surgeon is not careful. Perforation or punctures to the organs by scalpel, scissors, or lasers can lead to lasting damage.
- Anesthesia error—administering too much or too little anesthesia can have deadly consequences.
How Surgical Errors Happen
How is it possible that there are still surgical errors given the technology and scientific advances that have taken place in the operating room? Every surgical error is unique, but there are some common reasons why surgical errors occur:
- Poor communication between the surgeon and the surgical team
- Surgeon fatigue or distraction
- Drug or alcohol use on the part of the surgeon
- Insufficient preoperative planning—failing to plan for any challenges or problems that could occur
- Incompetence of the surgeon –perhaps the surgeon is not familiar with the procedure or the equipment
- Neglect—for instance failing to recognize injury to an organ or failing to count surgical tools properly
If you’ve been injured due to a surgical error, you should have a medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español