Many residents of Queens County check into a hospital for a routine procedure and do not realize that one mistake during their surgery can change their life. Surgical error is extremely common in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical negligence and error is third in line behind heart disease and cancer for being a leading cause of death.
Surgical errors and technology
Many mistakes made during surgery are preventable. Although advances in technology have benefitted the medical industry, they may have harmful effects on patients. A new study suggests that issues with technology account for approximately one out of every four mistakes made during a surgical operation, says the New York Times. The study found that about 15 errors occurred during every surgery and approximately 24 percent of these could be traced back to issues with equipment and technology.
The complications that patients experience due to the problems with technology in the operating room can last a lifetime. Many patients leave their surgery with tools used in the surgery like forceps, clamps and sponges left in their body. Patients with a sponge or other surgical device left in them often experience pain that lasts for months or years causing them to lose part of their intestines or even their life.
The patient's role in prevention
Although surgical errors are generally the fault of the medical professionals involved with the surgery, patients can play a role in preventing the occurrence of these errors when they go in for surgery. To prevent surgical error, patients should:
- Get as much information as they can about their doctor and hospital before surgery.
- Tell all doctors and nurses about the operation that will be occurring and why they are at the hospital.
- Confirm the site of the procedure and what will take place during the operation with the surgeon.
- Ensure the doctor initials the site of the surgery.
- Bring a friend or family member to the surgery that can advocate in the patient's best interests.
To further prevent surgical error, many medical centers have implemented certain methods to prevent leaving surgical items behind that could harm their patients. Ink can be used to mark the exact spot on the body where the surgery will be performed and bar codes can be added to surgical instruments and sponges to get a count for how many there are before and after surgery.
Even if the patient is proactive and takes steps to prevent errors during surgery, many medical centers fail to practice safety procedures. If you underwent a surgery where the surgeon made a mistake or left a surgical tool in you after surgery, contact a personal injury attorney to find out what you can do to receive compensation for any pain and suffering you endured as well as additional medical bills.