Surgical errors can lead to serious complications, hospital readmission, and even death. There are approximately 4,000 surgical errors each year in the United States.

Surgical errors can be scary for patients, who often worry about the risk of an error during their procedure. These fears are justified, as surgical mistakes are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in hospitals today. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that by recognizing potential risks and preparing well in advance of surgery, you can take proactive measures to reduce your risk of experiencing a surgical error. 

Here, we’ll explain exactly what surgical errors are and how you can reduce your risk if you or someone you love intends to undergo elective surgery. Please note that you can’t prevent all errors from occurring. When a surgical error does happen to you, it’s important that you know what to do.

Keep reading until the end to find out your options if you become a victim of a surgical error.

What Is a Surgical Error?

A surgical error is any event that leads to a negative outcome during surgery. Surgical errors can result in anything from minor complications to death. These events can be classified as preventable or non-preventable, depending on the circumstances surrounding the mistake. 

Preventable surgical errors are often a result of improperly following standard operating procedures or inadequate staff training. These errors can generally be avoided with proper preparation and attention to detail.

Non-preventable errors, on the other hand, stem from unforeseeable events and are therefore not preventable. Medical emergencies are often responsible for non-preventable surgical errors. 

If you experience a medical emergency during your surgery, you may be unable to stop the doctor from completing the procedure. Even if you are able to stop the surgery, you may be left with a serious injury as a result of the initial error. 

This is why it’s critical to communicate with your health care team about any pre-existing conditions or allergies that may affect your care.

Overview of Common Surgical Errors

There are several common surgical errors. Some are preventable, and others are not entirely preventable. Let’s take a look at the most common surgical errors. 

Wrong Surgery

This is one of the most common surgical errors. It occurs when a doctor performs the incorrect surgery on a patient. This can occur because of a misdiagnosis, incorrect charting, or any other miscommunication between the patient and the doctor. 

Moreover, this error can be particularly harmful if the wrong surgery is performed on the wrong body part or if multiple surgeries are performed when only one is required. 

Preventing wrong surgery requires patients to ask lots of questions and carefully examine their charts before surgery. Doctors and nurses must also be careful to communicate clearly about the surgery and the intended outcome.

Wrong Location Surgery

This is also a very common surgical error that can lead to serious complications and even death. This error occurs when doctors operate on the wrong body part. This can happen if a doctor uses the wrong medical chart or if medical personnel misread the chart. 

Preventing wrong location surgery requires patients to be very clear about their medical history. Doctors must also follow proper procedures to ensure the correct chart is used during surgery.

Leaving Medical Instrument in Patient

This is most commonly seen in trauma surgeries where the patient’s vital organs are repositioned. It can also happen in any other type of surgery when doctors fail to thoroughly check their patients for all instruments. 

Preventing leaving instruments in a patient requires the surgical team to be very careful about cleaning the operating space. Understandably, however, trauma surgeries tend to be just that: traumatic. Medical staff could easily miss something in their haste to treat the patient.

Anesthesia Error

This is perhaps the least preventable surgical error. It occurs when the medical team fails to monitor the patient’s vitals during surgery or fails to administer anesthesia properly. This can also occur when a patient’s allergies are not taken into account. 

Preventing anesthesia error requires the surgical team to have a comprehensive plan for monitoring the patient during surgery and administering the proper anesthesia. Moreover, it’s important that the patient inform the medical team of any potential complications that could arise from anesthesia.

Surgery Injury

This is the largest surgical error category. It occurs when the surgeon damages healthy tissue during surgery. This can happen due to multiple reasons, including an inexperienced surgeon, misalignment of the patient’s anatomy, or the presence of infection. 

Preventing surgery injury requires patients to carefully examine the credentials of their surgeon. It also requires patients to be as healthy as possible before surgery. This includes following a healthy diet and the doctor’s directions for preoperative care.

When to Contact a Surgical Errors Lawyer

While there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of surgical errors, it’s not always possible to prevent complications. If you or a loved one has experienced a surgical error, it is important to contact a surgical errors lawyer as soon as possible. 

A surgical errors lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and recover compensation for your injuries. What’s more, a surgical errors lawyer can help you identify and report medical negligence at all stages of your care, including before, during, and after surgery. 

And they can help you secure the appropriate medical records, which are crucial in proving your case. The sooner you report a surgical error, the better. This will allow you ample time to secure your medical records and, if necessary, hire a surgical errors lawyer to help you file a medical malpractice claim.

Contact the Doctor Lawyer Firm if You Are a Victim of a Surgical Error

The Doctor Lawyer Firm specializes in medical malpractice claims. We’ve successfully represented numerous victims of surgical errors, and we’ve collectively won many clients millions of dollars in damages. 

To make an appointment with a surgical errors lawyer, we invite you to contact us at 1-833-MedMals. You may also connect with us via our contact form.