Surgeons, like all medical doctors, attend years of graduate school and complete internships before beginning their careers in earnest. Surgeons typically work at hospitals or for large medical practices and have access to excellent equipment and facilities. With support staff, digital charting and other powerful harm-reduction systems in place, you might expect that surgeons would never make mistakes in professional settings.
However, you would be wrong to reach that conclusion. Dozens of surgical errors take place in the United States every week, and they often have catastrophic consequences for the patients involved. The three categories below are all examples of preventable surgical mistakes that occur with noteworthy frequency in modern operating rooms.
Objects left behind after surgery
If a hospital says that someone retains a foreign object after a surgery, what they actually mean is that the surgeon or the staff helping them in the operating room forgot to remove a clamp or a piece of gauze before closing an incision.
Those objects left behind can cause physical injury and infection if not removed, and revision surgeries will likely increase how long it takes someone to fully recover.
Wrong-site or wrong-side procedures
Doctors sometimes have patients about to undergo surgery make a mark on their body with a permanent marker indicating the location of the surgery. While this may seem like a silly step, it is a necessary one because many doctors make the mistake of performing a procedure on the wrong side of someone’s body or the wrong body part altogether.
Not only can such procedures damage healthy tissue, but they leave the original medical issue on a dress and therefore necessitate at least one, if not two, revision procedures.
Wrong patient or wrong procedure mistakes
Occasionally, a surgeon will perform the wrong procedure on a patient. They may confuse one patient with another or confuse their schedule of procedures for the day. Wrong patient and wrong procedure mistakes can cause major damage to the body and may make someone ineligible for the treatment that they actually need.
Patients affected by these surgical errors and family members who lose a loved one may have grounds for medical malpractice insurance claims or even civil lawsuits. Learning more about different forms of medical malpractice can help you get compensation if you ever experience it yourself.