Common Types of Negligence Related to Surgical Procedures
Though modern surgical advances offer hope and amazing outcomes to many people across the country, there's still a human element involved in the surgical process. Unfortunately, every year, an average of 4,000 human errors are made during surgeries in the United States.
Even though hospitals and medical practices implement rigid protocols to minimize the risk of surgical error, the following mistakes are far too common:
- Foreign objects left in a body cavity — Surgeons typically use clamps, scalpels, pads, gauze, and other objects during the surgical process. When any of these items are carelessly left inside the body, side effects can include infection, pain, sepsis, and even death.
- Operating on the wrong body part — When appropriate pre-surgical verifications are not conducted, or surgeons and support staff don't properly communicate, an operation may be performed on the wrong body part (the wrong hand, foot, or other appendage, for example), or even on the wrong patient. In addition, medical professionals may incorrectly read an X-ray and perform surgery on the wrong side of the body.
- Performing the wrong surgical procedure — This can happen for a variety of reasons. There may be poor communication before or during the operation. Patient records may get mixed up or placed with the wrong patient.
- Carelessness during the surgical process — A scalpel is an extremely sharp object, requiring the surgeon to exercise great care and skill. Failure to do so can cause damage to other internal organs, internal bleeding, damaged nerves, and other problems.
- Anesthesia mistakes — Medical professionals need to exercise extreme care when administering any type of anesthesia. Determining potential allergies beforehand is critical. In addition, administering the proper dosage is paramount. If there's not enough anesthesia, a patient may become conscious during surgery. Too much anesthesia, though, can limit a patient's ability to take in oxygen, creating a serious risk of brain injury or even death.