Common Types of Surgical Errors
Ways that Surgeons Can Breach the Duty of Care
When you are sick or have suffered an injury that requires a surgical procedure, you expect that all medical professionals involved will adhere to the highest standards of care when performing the operation. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are a number of ways a surgeon can fail to meet the expected standard of care during an operation:
- Leaving surgical tools or other foreign objects in a body cavity—Without proper attention to detail, a surgeon may inadvertently leave clamps, gauze, scalpels, or other items inside a patient’s body. This can pose a risk of infection or even more serious consequences.
- Operating on the wrong body part—Sometimes, a doctor will make the unfortunate mistake of performing surgery on the wrong side of the body—the left leg when the surgery should have been on the right leg, for example. A doctor also might perform the wrong type of surgical procedure due to incorrect identification of the patient. This type of error can be avoided by implementing appropriate protocol to verify patient identity and procedure.
- Anesthesia errors—There is little room for error in the administration of anesthesia. The doctor may give too much or too little anesthesia based on the weight of the patient. The anesthesiologist also may neglect to conduct a proper screening or verify that the patient has followed pre-surgical instructions regarding the ingestion of food or beverages.
- Nerve damage from carelessness—It can be difficult to see inside the human body, and there are many organs packed into a small space. Your surgeon needs to use extreme care not to nick nerves or other body parts while performing a surgical procedure.
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