A People First Law Firm

Office Building of Steven D. Davis Law Group, APC.

How common are surgical errors to hospital patients?

When any of us go to the hospital for a surgical procedure, we place our trust in the doctors and other medical professionals that take care of us. We assume, sometimes, that because they have a lot of knowledge, they are beyond making mistakes.

However, that is not true. Unfortunately, surgical errors happen all the time in hospitals, to hospital patients. A surgical error is a mistake that is preventable and that medical staff could have avoided if they had followed proper procedures.

Examples of surgical errors include:

  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Leaving a medical device or tool inside a patient’s body
  • Making an incorrect cut

Though these errors might seem almost impossible, they are not. In fact, they happen more often than anyone would like. After all, doctors and medical staff make mistakes like everyone else.

They get tired like everyone else; they have long shifts, which are unique to their profession and sometimes require them to perform several surgical procedures back-to-back.

How often do mistakes happen?

Johns Hopkins University estimates that medical professionals make at least 4000 surgical errors every year in the United States. If you think about it, that is a significant number, and these are events that the medical community calls “never events” because they state they should never happen.

Impact of surgical errors

Even though some might think that 4000 errors per year are not an alarming number, if it happens to you, it is critical to understand its impact. People who suffer from these errors must deal with a range of things, from additional healing all the way to death.

Some consequences of surgical errors, if the patient survives, include:

  • Additional medical bills
  • Additional surgical intervention
  • Psychological distress and anxiety
  • Physical injuries and ailments

It is critical for medical professionals to have safety checks and follow them. While everyone who goes into an operating room has a procedure to follow, that procedure is no good if the person does not follow it.

What to do if you suspect a surgical error

If you suspect that a medical professional made a mistake during your surgery, ask questions and speak up. First, the most important thing to do is seek medical care to ensure that, if there was an error, a doctor identifies the mistake and creates a plan to fix it.

It is also worthwhile to speak with your attorney about these errors. Sometimes a doctor might be negligent or irresponsible and they may not care that you have to pay the price for that.

In these cases, speaking with an attorney can help you understand what your rights are under the law and how you can protect yourself.

Remember that hospitals are protecting themselves and will often not be as transparent as they should be out of fear of being sued. For this reason, speak with your attorney to get the medical opinion of someone who is not connected with that hospital, or the individuals involved in your procedure. It can help you recover and even save your life.

RSS Feed

FindLaw Network