What Are the Common Causes of Surgical Errors?
Gregg Hollander | October 27, 2023 | Medical Malpractice
More than 200 million surgeries are performed globally each year. While the vast majority are completely safe and successful, surgical errors do happen, and they can be deadly.
In fact, the National Library of Medicine lists medical errors of all kinds as the leading cause of death in the United States. These incidents can occur as a result of not taking action or as a result of a mistake that occurs while administering medical care.
Some surgical mistakes are described as “minor,” but if they affect your life and ongoing health, no error is truly small. With that being said, you may be entitled to sue for malpractice if your surgeon(s) made a mistake that ultimately put your health at risk.
What Is a Surgical Error?
Every surgery involves some element of risk, as unexpected complications can arise during a surgical procedure, as can infections following them. These are considered “known risks,” and most doctors and surgeons do an excellent job of informing patients about them before being asked to decide whether surgery is right for them.
When a risk becomes a reality because your surgeon didn’t follow accepted surgical procedures, it is not considered to be a known risk.
With that said, surgical errors may happen because of any of the following reasons:
- Improper work protocols
- Substance or alcohol use on the job
- Poor communication between medical experts
- Lack of skill or experience
- Poor preoperative planning
- Fatigue of the surgeon and staff
In some cases, mistakes happen because of simple negligence. A surgeon may perform the same procedure hundreds or even thousands of times over the course of their career. But, as with any other job, repetition can lead to boredom and complacency, and just like anyone else, surgeons can make mistakes.
The Most Common Surgical Errors
When it comes to surgical errors, being “common” does not mean being less harmful. The most common mistakes can still have devastating effects on a patient. A medical malpractice lawsuit is often the only recourse a patient has if they have suffered because of a surgeon’s mistake.
Some of the errors that happen most frequently are as follows:
- Surgery that is inappropriate or unnecessary
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside the body
- Injury to blood vessels or nerves
- Anesthesia errors or complications
- Mistakenly cutting into an organ or unrelated body part
- Post-operative infections
- Performing the wrong surgery on the wrong patient
Mistakes that happen before the surgery may still be considered surgical errors, such as failing to notice or address a new complication that would contraindicate surgery.
Nevertheless, these are only some of the surgical mistakes that can result in a patient’s wrongful death or need for emergency treatments. Surgical errors can also cause problems that persist for the rest of the patient’s life, such as brain injuries or paralysis. In some cases, patients require lifelong medical care after surviving a surgical error.
What To Do If a Surgical Error Injures You
Regaining your health is the number one priority after surviving a surgical error. If you have worsening symptoms, persistent pain, a loss of function, or just can’t seem to recover properly after surgery, see a qualified medical professional for a second opinion.
Take the time to document everything about your experience, including the names of all the healthcare providers who were involved in your surgery. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney to learn if you have grounds to sue for malpractice.
People often feel hesitant to address a surgical error, and feeling a sense of loyalty to a medical provider is normal, even if that provider has been negligent. However, bringing attention to medical mistakes promotes patient safety and professional accountability.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm in Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
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Boca Raton, FL 33433
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Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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West Palm Beach, FL 33401