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Understanding Surgical Errors

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Understanding Surgical Errors

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDING SURGICAL ERRORS What HappensWhen Surgery Goes Awry
  2. 2. 11 SURGICAL ERRORS HAPPEN EVERY DAY The thought of going under the knife is a scary prospect for anyone. Perhaps more than in any other medical setting, we are truly at the mercy of healthcare professionals. Not only do we have no control over the procedure, we are often completely unconscious during surgery. Even more alarming is the fact that 4,000 surgical errors happen in the United States every year. www.wnwlaw.com
  3. 3. HOW MISTAKES HAPPEN Most surgical errors are classified as “never-events,” meaning that they were entirely preventable and never should have occurred.There are several different types of surgical errors, some more common than others.There are also many reasons that these errors happen. In the pages that follow, we’ll look at types and causes of surgical mistakes and what a patient can do after they suffer harm from surgical error. www.wnwlaw.com
  4. 4. TYPES OF SURGICAL ERROR Major surgeries are complex. One procedure may require several different processes involving many different doctors and nurses. Many pieces of equipment may also be used.These variables make surgery more prone to mistakes than simpler procedures. While surgical errors can take many forms, some of the most common are:  Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong- patient errors  Objects left inside the body  Anesthesia errors  Infections www.wnwlaw.com
  5. 5. WRONG SITE, WRONG PROCEDURE, WRONG PATIENT Some of the most common errors in surgery fall under the category of “wrong- site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors,” also calledWSPEs.  Wrong-site errors occur when a doctor performs a surgery on the wrong side of the patient’s body.These errors occur approximately 20 times a week in the U.S.  Wrong-procedure errors occur when doctors do a different surgery than the one required.These also occur around 20 times a week in the U.S.  Wrong-patient errors happen when the hospital mixes up one patient for another. www.wnwlaw.com
  6. 6. OBJECTS LEFT INSIDE PATIENTS Every day in the United States, there are approximately 12 instances of doctors sewing up patients with a foreign object mistakenly left inside. Most of the time, the object left behind is a sponge, which can cause major health complications over the weeks, months and years that follow a surgery. Though less common, doctors can also leave equipment like forceps or clamps. www.wnwlaw.com
  7. 7. ANESTHESIA ERRORS Anesthesiologists, along with other medical professionals, have an obligation to follow certain protocol before, during and after administering medication to patients.They must instruct a patient about what is expected of them.They must determine the proper type and dosage of an anesthetic, and they must make sure the patient is given proper care post-surgery. Anesthesia errors can have disastrous results for patients. www.wnwlaw.com
  8. 8. SURGERY-RELATED INFECTIONS Hospital-acquired infections are one of the biggest hazards in our healthcare system.These infections sometimes occur during or after a surgery. All surfaces and equipment must be sanitized before an operation. All doctors and nurses must be diligent during a procedure to keep the environment sterile. Medical professionals should also monitor the patient after the surgery to make sure their wound doesn’t become infected. www.wnwlaw.com
  9. 9. POSSIBLE CAUSES OF SURGICAL ERROR A single surgical error can have multiple contributing factors.A surgical mistake may be due to any of the following factors:  Miscommunication before or during surgery  Mislabeling of a patient’s information  Distraction by doctors or nurses  Fatigue of doctors or nurses www.wnwlaw.com
  10. 10. HOW PATIENTS SUFFER FROM SURGICAL ERROR A surgical error can have several different outcomes for a patient, from sudden, catastrophic medical emergencies to gradual, debilitating complications. Complications might arise during a surgery, but often it takes days, weeks or even months for problems to emerge. In addition to pain and suffering, a patient might require additional medical treatment, lose time at work and have their quality of life greatly diminished. www.wnwlaw.com
  11. 11. OPTIONS FOR INJURED PATIENTS When a patient suffers harm from surgical mistakes, they have legal options. Medical malpractice claims offer victims of medical negligence a path toward compensation for their suffering. A medical malpractice attorney can help an injured patient win payment from negligent healthcare providers to cover pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages and any other damages. www.wnwlaw.com
  12. 12. HOWWE CAN HELP If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from surgical errors, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Wapner, Newman,Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller. Our experienced team offers clients exceptional service, and we will fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today by filling out our online contact form or calling our office at 1-800-529-6600. www.wnwlaw.com

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