Surgical errors: A major form of medical malpractice in IL

Surgical errors in operating rooms occur more frequently than some people may think, and put people’s lives in danger.

Many Illinois residents and people across the country feel confident when going in to have a surgical procedure performed. Throughout the years, advances in surgical technology have led to improved techniques and procedures. Despite these improvements, however, a surprising number of surgical errors occur, affecting the lives of thousands of people every year. While people may be entering the operating room with high hopes and expectations, they may leave the OR as victims of medical malpractice.

The facts

A study from the Journal of Patient Safety reported that as many as 440,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors. Some of these mistakes occur in the operating rooms of hospitals and clinics. Research published by Johns Hopkins University indicated that surgical errors occur at least 4,000 times a year in operating rooms across the nation. Some people believe that this number is considerably low and that surgical errors happen upwards of 6,000 times a year, as reported by USA Today. This is because many surgical mistakes go undiscovered and unreported.

Types of surgical errors

There are several types of surgical errors that can lead to serious patient injury and even death. According to CNN News, these mistakes include:

  • Surgical items being left inside patients during a procedure, causing massive pain and infection.
  • The wrong surgical procedure being performed on the wrong patient. This can occur when doctors' fail to verify the patient's identity and information.
  • The wrong body part being operated on. For example, the patient's left knee is replaced rather than the right knee.
  • Anesthesia is not used properly, causing the patient to 'wake up' during surgery.

Using the wrong technique on a patient during a surgical procedure can also have disastrous results. In one case, a nurse removed a patient's central line chest tube while he was sitting in an upright position rather than lying down. She then covered the hole with gauze, which did not create an airtight seal. Since the nurse failed to follow proper procedure, the patient got air bubbles in his blood and passed away the same day.

Obtaining legal counsel

People who have been affected by a surgical error or any other type of medical malpractice may want to seek legal counsel from an established attorney in Illinois. Surgical errors may result in additional surgeries, lost wages from time taken off of work and other problems that can have a major impact on your life. A personal injury attorney in Illinois may be able to answer any questions you have regarding your case and help you explore your legal options.