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How Common are Surgical Errors?

Many of us have successfully undergone surgical procedures and, in general, we tend to expect that our trust is well placed in healthcare professionals. However, the fact is that surgical mistakes are not as much of a rarity as you might think and not everyone leaves the operating room better off than before. How common are these egregious mistakes? To put it into perspective, only heart disease and cancer kill more people in the country than medical errors. Every year, surgical errors kill nearly 7% of patients and permanently injures about a third of them. Studies also show that 75% of surgical errors actually occur during surgery, and in the U.S., surgeons operate on 200-300 wrong patients each year.

Any kind of negligent behavior can result in surgical errors, but researchers have revealed that four categories tend to be the most common reasons:

  • Preconditions for action: Sloppy hand-offs, distractions, stressed out or exhausted personnel, poor communication, and even overly confident staff can often lead to surgical errors in the operating room.
  • Unsafe actions: This includes disregarding rules and proper protocol as well as acting before thinking.
  • Oversight: Staffing shortages, poor supervision, and planning problems can all lead to oversight, which can ultimately cause surgical errors.
  • Organizational influences: This tends to be symptomatic of a toxic culture or ineffective operational practices.

Some of the most common surgical errors that occur include:

  • Foreign objects left in a patient’s body
  • The wrong surgery was performed on the wrong patient
  • The right surgical procedure was performed on the wrong side of the patient
  • Anesthesia mix-ups or errors
  • Nerve damage

Additionally, statistics also suggest that surgeons who make these mistakes are typically not first-time offenders. About two-thirds of surgeons who committed these errors have already been implicated in multiple medical malpractice events and, according to a study conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), roughly 1% of doctors were responsible for 32% of all malpractice claims over the past decade.

Dangers of Surgical Errors

Of all the dangers associated with surgical procedures, anesthesia errors are one of the deadliest, as a mix-up or overdose can result in brain death before action can be taken.

Infections are indirect surgical errors that can become dangerous if left untreated. Infections can be caused by unsterilized tools or bacteria that has gotten into air vents during surgery, or if your wounds aren’t treated properly through cleaning and stitching.

If you experience any of the following symptoms after surgery, you should seek medical treatment immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Burning pain while urinating
  • Intense, sharp pain at the surgical site
  • Abdominal pain
  • Redness, soreness, or swelling near the surgical site

The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can be treated and avoid further damage. You should also hire an attorney to get started on your case by gathering evidence of your medical professional’s negligence.

Why You Need an Attorney

If you sustained injuries after being surgically operated on, you can pursue a medical malpractice claim to recover just compensation. At the Law Offices of David C. Rash, we have decades of experience in handling medical malpractice claims and have developed a sophisticated knowledge of medical malpractice injuries, which we can use to your advantage. Injuries sustained from surgeries require additional surgeries, hospital stays, and other medical treatments that can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

Through our unwavering support, we can recover damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering so you don’t have to worry about dipping into your savings or falling into debt to recover. We should expect surgeons and other medical staff to practice due diligence, and when they don’t, they deserve to be held responsible for their actions.

Begin filing your medical malpractice claim today by calling our team at (954) 914-7116 for a free case evaluation, or contact us online. We can put our resources and knowledge to work for you so you can concentrate on healing.