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Types of surgical errors and their causes

Surgery is supposed to save or improve your life, not endanger it. However, too often, surgeons and other medical staff make minor mistakes with major consequences. Zero risk is impossible, but these common surgical errors are completely avoidable. Be aware of the types and causes, and learn what to do to prevent it from happening to you.

Types of surgical errors

The complexity of surgery provides multiple opportunities for making a mistake. These are the most common ones.

  • Wrong side or site. Surgeons may operate on the wrong site, or the correct site but the wrong side of your body.
  • Wrong patient. Doctors may operate on the wrong person.
  • Retained medical equipment. Surgeons, nurses and others may leave sponges, rods and other tools inside your body.
  • Medication errors. Too little anesthesia may cause you to feel pain, and too much may result in many health problems. Incorrect dosages and combinations of other drugs are dangerous, too.
  • Nerve damage. Surgery requires precision because it is easy to cause permanent damage from a wrong move.
  • Delayed or missed surgery. Errors also include delays in receiving surgery or your doctor completely missing your need for surgery.

Causes of surgical errors

Mistakes occur due to careless and irresponsible behavior, including these six ways:

  1.      Poor communication
  2.      Neglectful preparation
  3.      Improper following of procedure
  4.      Insufficient experience
  5.      Exhaustion
  6.      Intoxication

Factors that increase the likelihood of an error include the doctor having a history of malpractice or the procedure taking place outside of the operating room, such as in an ambulance. Additionally, hospitals profit from errors and complications, lessening their motivation to improve safety.

Prevention tips

When you know what signs to look for, you can monitor your safety by asking questions and reviewing details to ensure accuracy. Also, it is not only smart to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer if you become injured from your surgery, but it is also smart to do so before your operation. Speak to an attorney today to learn your rights as a patient.

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