Surgical errors in the U.S. can result in significant patient disability, injury and even death in some cases.
Advanced medical technology has improved the lives of countless Illinois residents and people across the country. Licensed surgeons in the United States must undergo extensive training in the medical profession before they are able to operate on patients in a medical facility. While patients may enter the operating room feeling that they are in good hands, some may become the victims of a surgical error. Even the best surgeons in the nation are at risk of making mistakes, which could have serious consequences for their patients.
Surgical errors happen more often than one may think. A study published in American Medical News reported that surgical errors occur at least 80 times a week in operating rooms across the nation. Researchers evaluated medical liability judgements and settlements that occurred over a 10 year period and found nearly 10,000 cases of surgical malpractice. Although these incidents are rare, they still affect a considerable number of people, and may cause significant injuries, sickness and even death.
Types of surgical errors
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there are several types of surgical mistakes that can cause significant damage to patients. These include:
- Surgical instruments, such as sponges that are left inside patients after a surgical procedure is performed.
- Surgeons that operate on the wrong surgical site.
- Surgeons that perform the wrong procedure on the wrong patient.
- Patients who are not given the appropriate amount of anesthesia, causing them to wake up mid-way through the procedure.
A lapse in judgement or insufficient training may cause a surgeon to make a mistake, such as starting an IV in the wrong arm or severing an important vessel. This form of medical malpractice may spell disaster for some patients.
Factors leading to surgical mistakes
Many people are left wondering how surgical errors occur and what can be done to prevent them from happening. Miscommunication is one of the most common factors that can lead to a surgical error. Before the procedure takes place, the surgeon should speak directly with the patient, and go over the entire surgical process. Not only does this ensure that the correct procedure is being performed, but it helps the surgeon map out specific details about the surgery.
The operating room environment can also contribute to a serious medical mistake. For example, before, during and after a procedure, operating room technicians must account for every piece of surgical equipment. With mid-shift staff changes and other chaotic events happening in the operating room, a surgical sponge or other instrument may get left behind in a patient's operating site. The patient may be unaware that a mistake has been made until they begin to experience the onset of a massive infection.
Finding a medical malpractice attorney
If you are the victim of a surgical mistake, you may have had to go through several surgical procedures to repair the damage caused by the error. Not only are you left with extensive medical bills, but you are forced to endure the pain and suffering as a result of the surgeon's negligence. A medical malpractice attorney in Chicago may be a vital component of your legal case.
Keywords: medical malpractice, hospital, doctor, injury