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What Are the Most Common Surgical Errors?

When you undergo surgery, the last thing you expect is your surgeon or surgical team to make a grave error. Unfortunately, not all surgeons exercise the appropriate level of care. Some are negligent, meaning they fall short of the required standard of patient care. This is known as medical malpractice, and it can take the form of many different surgical errors. If one of these common types of surgical errors injured you, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Lack of Informed Consent

Medical mistakes can happen even before the patient goes under the knife, during the consultation stage. All patients have a right to be fully informed of the potential benefits, risks and alternatives of an operation. They must give their consent to the procedure after learning all of the facts. If a surgeon or doctor fails to obtain the patient’s informed consent, the victim may have grounds for a claim if the surgery results in unexpected injuries or harm.

Unnecessary Surgeries or Procedures

A negligent doctor may recommend a surgical procedure that is not in a patient’s best interests when weighed against more conservative options. Unnecessary surgical procedures can put a patient through needless pain, emotional suffering, temporary or permanent physical changes, scarring or disfigurement, and financial duress.

Wrong Patient or Procedure 

Some surgical errors are referred to as “never events” because they should never happen in a safe and properly functioning medical environment. These events include extremely serious types of surgical malpractice, such as operating on the wrong patient or wrong body part or performing the wrong surgery. These mistakes should be avoided with proper communication among members of the medical team and by following required safety protocols such as double-checking a patient’s chart before beginning a procedure.

Anesthesia Errors 

Once a patient goes into the operating room, many different things can go wrong if any member of the surgical team is negligent. This includes potential anesthesia errors. If an anesthesiologist fails to perform his or her job according to the required standards of care, the patient can receive too much or not enough anesthesia. This can cause serious harm, including anesthesia awareness or brain damage. The incorrect type of anesthesia could also lead to fatal allergic reactions. Finally, improperly intubating the patient can result in brain hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain, which can be fatal.

Mistakes During Surgery

During the operation itself, a surgeon can make a critical error that injures or even kills the patient. It is a surgeon’s responsibility to properly prepare for the procedure, follow required hospital protocols, communicate effectively with his or her team, pay attention to the task at hand, and avoid preventable mistakes. If a surgeon falls short of these duties of care, surgical errors such as nerve damage, injuring an artery, causing internal bleeding, damaging an organ, causing paralysis or leaving foreign objects in the body cavity can occur. Surgical errors can even occur during childbirth if a c-section is carried out incorrectly, resulting in a birth injury case.

Poor Post-Operative Care

After an operation, a patient needs proper postoperative care to ensure that nothing unexpected has occurred during surgery and to prevent complications, such as serious infections or sepsis. Poor post-op care increases a patient’s risk of suffering serious complications as a result of the surgical procedure. It is important for a doctor to carefully monitor a patient after an operation to detect signs of possible complications and take actionable steps to prevent them.

If you are a victim of any type of surgical mistake, contact a Philadelphia surgical error attorney near you to request a free consultation. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in pursuit of financial compensation.