A study conducted by the Patient Safety Network (PSN) estimated that error occurs in 1 out of every 112,000 surgical procedures. Any surgery is a serious, difficult event for both patient and doctor. Since certain surgery errors can come with catastrophic consequences, these are labeled “never events”—mistakes that should never happen. The most common of these are performing at the wrong site, performing the wrong procedure, and performing on the wrong patient, and their aftermath could include brain damage, paralysis, or death.
What Is a Surgical Error?
A surgical error occurs when a doctor or other surgical professional makes a preventable mistake, injuring or killing a patient during surgery. Though risk applies to any surgery and patients are informed of these and understand them before agreeing to surgery, surgical errors fall outside the scope of known risks. The most common surgical errors are:
- Wrong site
- Wrong procedure
- Wrong patient
- Instrument left in patient
- Nerve damage
Common Surgery Errors Explained
Medical professionals must uphold a certain standard of care when working with patients, including before, during, and after surgery. If an error occurs, a patient could be left with brain damage, need for further surgery, prolonged infections, and even death. A doctor or other member of the surgical staff might make a mistake during surgery due to:
- Neglect. Unfortunately, some doctors simply do not approach surgery with sufficient care. It’s possible a doctor did not clean his instruments, wash his hands thoroughly enough, or attempts to rush through surgery.
- Poor planning. Before surgery, it’s important for a doctor and her surgical staff to prepare properly. This includes reviewing possible complications and readying all necessary equipment.
- Poor communication. Paperwork and other communication between the doctor and the medical facility is key. Sometimes, poor communication can result in the doctor administering the wrong medications, making an incision at the wrong surgical site, or even performing surgery on the wrong patient.
- Insufficient training. Performing surgery requires years of training and supervised practice. If a certain procedure is notably complicated and lies outside the scope of the surgeon’s expertise or experience, terrible consequences could ensue.
- Insufficient rest. Doctors and nurses—especially surgeons—work lengthy, intense shifts. However, it’s important to remember that fatigued medical staff are more likely to make mistakes.
- Influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, some medical staff members use drugs or alcohol to deal with stress or fatigue, even before performing surgery. Performing surgery under the influence can result in severe injury to the patient or even death.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Surgical Error Injury
If you’ve been injured by your doctor because of a surgical mistake, you need an experienced attorney. Together, you can build a case against the doctor, gathering evidence to show the doctor breached the standard of care, causing an injury. Call 877.960.3441 to speak with the skilled team at Tavss Fletcher today.