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Examining emergency surgeries

| Sep 20, 2017 | Surgical Errors

For many in Queens, the prospect of having to undergo a scheduled surgery can seem quite daunting given the fact that even with time to prepare, surgeons can still commit errors during a procedure. One can imagine how much the potential for error may go up for procedures that are not scheduled. Information shared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that while emergency surgeries account for roughly half of the general surgery workload in America, they produce between 80-90 percent of all surgery related deaths. It may be assumed that surgeries that allow for little planning and preparation might produce more errors, yet could there be other reasons why emergency surgical procedures so often produce fatal results? 

Some might argue that it is due to the fact that those requiring emergency surgery tend to be the sickest patients. Indeed, very rarely might one see a patient being seen for minor discomfort needing to be rushed into emergency surgery. Given the increased risk that a patient faces from having a surgical procedure (of any kind) doctors may often only result to surgical intervention as a last resort. Thus, those who need emergency surgery are likely already experiencing serious health complications. 

A closer review of the most common emergency surgeries may cause many to question that assumption, however. According to Live Science, these procedures include: 

  • Removal of part of either the large or small intestine
  • Gallbladder removal
  • Stomach-ulcer surgery 
  • Removal of abdominal scar tissue
  • Appendix removal
  • Abdominal exploration

Many of these procedures have very low average mortality rates. This may suggest that rather than the type of procedure being the primary cause of emergency surgical complications, it may indeed be human error on the part of a provider that is not fully prepared to perform an unscheduled operation. 

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