Common Causes of Surgical Errors, Part 1

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Surgeries are inherently dangerous. That is why most (if not all) hospitals will have you sign a release form. That release form only protects the hospital and doctors against some unavoidable outcomes. For example, every nurse and doctor may follow proper clean procedures but that doesn’t stop every infection. Additionally, surgeons cannot predict everything they will find once they go in for surgery. Unknown medical conditions might occur or complications. Not every bad result from a surgery is the result of doctor negligence but that does not mean they shouldn’t be investigated.

But that does not mean that surgeons and nurses do not, from time to time, make serious and even stupid mistakes. This post will go over some of those common causes.

Wrong-site surgery / wrong patient surgery is exactly how it sounds. Some surgeons have operated on the wrong body-part or even the wrong patient. That is why hospitals introduce multiple checks to ensure that the patient is receiving the correct treatment. Surgeons are often not the same doctors that treat you, therefore, a surgeon may only know meet you for the brief surgical consult before he or she operates.

Another common issue is doctors leaving objects inside of patients. Surgeries are messy therefore, doctors require nurses to “pack” many open cavities with sponges to control bleeding. Around 4,000 patients a year report having a medical instrument left in their body. Usually, it is one of these sponges or gauze but all sorts of objects have been found, including: scissors, clamps, and scalpels. Surgical teams now count their sponges before they conclude the surgery to ensure that every object is accounted for but that is sometimes insufficient.

If you believe you were the victim of a careless surgeon, then you may want to call an attorney at your earliest convenience. You were injured and it wasn’t your fault. You shouldn’t have to pay for the medical expenses and additional treatments you will require due to another person’s mistake. You deserve compensation to cover your injuries. An attorney can help you get the money you need so you can focus on getting better and rebuilding your life.

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