Modern medicine often offers many ways to treat injuries and illnesses. If your doctor recommends surgery, you trust the surgeon to operate with competence and professionalism. Regrettably, though, that does not always happen.
Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. after only heart disease and cancer. In fact, somewhere between 250,000 and 440,000 individuals die annually because of medical errors. While current statistics on surgical errors are harder to find, surgeons likely make thousands of mistakes every year.
Possible surgical errors
The frustrating thing about surgical errors is most are preventable. Unfortunately, many surgical errors leave patients with life-altering injuries. Here are some possible mistakes a surgeon may make when operating on patients:
- Performing an incorrect surgical procedure
- Administrating an unsafe amount of anesthesia
- Leaving surgical instruments inside the body
- Operating on the wrong part of the body
- Cutting, nicking or otherwise damaging nerves
Even minor surgical procedures often carry some risk of injury or death. Still, medical professionals use the term, “never events,” to describe surgical errors that occur because of gross negligence. The possible surgical errors above are events that should never happen in the operating room.
Some causes of surgical errors
Human error is only one explanation for surgical errors. Surgical mistakes may also be due to communication breakdowns, equipment malfunctions or systems failures. Consequently, surgeons and other health care professionals should take steps to manage all possible causes of surgical errors.
Regardless of the cause of your surgical error, you ultimately may be able to pursue financial compensation from the responsible surgeon or hospital to help you better manage your error-related injuries.