Like most Kentucky residents, you've likely made a medical appointment for yourself or your child at some point. From well-visits to seeking diagnosis for underlying causes of particular symptoms, we rely heavily on physicians throughout the nation to help us maintain good health and improve conditions that worsen for one reason or another. Sometimes, a doctor or specialist may determine surgery necessary to help you get well. The thought of undergoing a surgical procedure may worry you.
That's understandable since a lot can go wrong, even during minor operations. As a medical patient, you place your trust in licensed medical staff members and have the right to reasonably assume that each of your caregivers will act according to the highest level of accepted safety standards. The problem is that there is no guarantee that every doctor, nurse, surgeon or other medical team member will do what he or she should do. Medical negligence can cause you serious injury. Know how to protect your rights.
Did one of these errors happen to you?
Any number of errors -- some benign, others potentially fatal -- may occur when you're undergoing surgery. The following list includes three surgical errors that are most common in hospitals in Kentucky and elsewhere:
- Operating on the wrong patient: You may wonder how such an error can ever occur when each patient has a unique set of medical records, which are typically available to medical staff nowadays in hard copy and digital forms. However, many doctors perform surgeries, only to realize after the fact that they operated on the wrong patients.
- Incorrect procedure: Knowing that you are the correct patient is not enough to place you out of harm's way on the operating table, because another common surgical error occurs when surgeons perform the wrong procedures. This type of medical negligence can have permanent, disastrous effects!
- Right patient, right procedure, wrong body part: Many patients check into hospitals for things like knee-replacement surgeries, then are shocked to later learn that their surgeon operated on the wrong body part. Wrong-site surgeries rank high on most lists of preventable surgical errors that happen in Kentucky and other medical facilities across the United States.
You'd likely be shocked and dismayed if one of these seemingly easy-to-prevent surgical errors happened to you or your loved one. Poor communication appears to be a root cause of such mishaps in the operating room. Many nurses and doctors work long hours with little to no sleep, which can impede their ability to remain alert and pay attention to detail; others are simply careless and do not adhere to surgical protocol.
What you can do if medical negligence causes you injury
It should be rather easy to prove that a surgeon has operated on the wrong part of your body or that you were not the intended patient for a specific procedure. Many Kentucky medical patients compile documentation and evidence so they can seek legal accountability against the party or parties that caused their injuries.