Thousands of patients suffer injuries or complications from surgical and anesthesia errors every year. Unfortunately, medical malpractice in the operating room is more common than many would like to believe. If a patient is injured by a surgical or anesthesia error, the patient may be entitled to recover from the negligent doctor or hospital and their insurance companies.
Causes Of Surgical Errors
Surgical errors can be caused by any of the following:
- Poor pre-operative planning or care — Prior to performing any surgical procedure, medical staff are supposed to follow a checklist that includes verifying the identity of the patient, reviewing the objectives of the surgery, obtaining the consent of the patient and marking the surgery site.
- Incision errors — When the site of surgery is not properly located or identified, the surgeon can perform incisions on the wrong part of the body or in the wrong location.
- Surgeon inexperience or incompetence — Lack of training or insufficient experience can result in a number of complications, including organ puncture, perforation and nerve damage.
- Non-sterile equipment — Inadequately sterilized equipment can expose patients to a variety of infections
Common Surgical Errors
One of the most common surgical mistakes involves leaving surgical implements in the body. Sponges are the most common, but surgeons have also left in clamps, scalpels, scissors, towels and other medical instruments. These mistakes can cause significant tissue damage and result in serious infection.
Despite a protocol to prevent these errors, wrong site surgeries are a continued problem. Wrong site surgery involves performing the incorrect surgery on an individual or making an incision in the incorrect location.
Substandard aftercare is another risk to surgical patients. Deficiencies in post-operative care can result in a variety of infections, including sepsis, prolonged healing and many other life-threatening conditions.
Unfortunately, hospitals and doctors occasionally overlook proper procedures in using specialized medical equipment. Improper use of medical equipment may cause burns, scars, deformities, severe pain, loss of function to certain body parts, or further injury. In the worst case, death may occur as a result of the improper use of medical equipment.
Causes Of Anesthesia Errors
A variety of errors can be made in the administration of anesthesia, including too much or too little anesthesia, delayed delivery of anesthesia, failure to intubate or injury caused by intubation, failure by the anesthesiologist to properly monitor the patient, failure to recognize anesthesia complications, and the use of defective equipment.