Whenever a person needs surgery, no matter how minor, there is a risk of complications. Not all of these complications or errors are anyone’s fault. However, some doctors or other medical care providers make mistakes that constitute medical malpractice when performing surgery that can cause the patient to suffer serious health conditions—sometimes fatal—and entitle them to compensation for their injuries.
What Are Common Surgical Errors?
An error in surgery is generally considered a mistake that was unexpected and preventable if the doctor exercised the proper standard of care. They usually go beyond the known risks of a particular surgery that patients acknowledge when they sign an informed consent form. Common mistakes doctors and other healthcare providers make when performing surgery include:
- Injuring a nerve during surgery
- Making an anesthesia error, like giving too much or too little medication
- Making an incision to the wrong part of the body
- Performing surgery on the wrong person or wrong body part
- Leaving surgical equipment, such as a sponge or instrument, in the patient’s body
- Puncturing or perforating another organ or nearby tissues—sometimes life-threatening
- Causing an infection by using unsanitary instruments or other negligent practices
What Are Common Reasons Doctors Make Surgical Errors?
Each case is unique, and the cause of medical malpractice will depend on the surgical procedure and its standard of care. However, the main reasons doctors and others make these errors include:
- Inadequate planning. When doctors and other medical care providers do not do enough pre-surgery planning, such as taking a complete medical and medication history on the patient, preventable mistakes can occur.
- Miscommunication. Miscommunication between the prep team and the surgical team can result in medical malpractice mistakes. For example, not communicating well can cause a nurse or aide to mark the wrong part of the body for surgery or misidentify a patient and communicate this information to the doctor.
- Improper procedure. If a surgeon decides a normal step in a procedure is not needed to speed up the process, this can cause disastrous consequences for the patient.
- Fatigue. When a surgeon works too many hours and is fatigued, this can reduce his judgment, memory, alertness, and other mental abilities—all required to competently perform surgery.
- Neglect. When nurses or other medical support staff are negligent in not properly sterilizing and cleaning instruments, make medication errors, or engage in other negligent practices, a patient may develop an infection or suffer serious injuries. Doctors who do not follow the proper standard of medical care or are not as careful as they should be also be considered negligent.
Are you worried that your doctor committed medical malpractice when performing your surgery? The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to investigate your claim, build your case for compensation, and negotiate your settlement. Fill out our online form to get started and schedule your free consultation