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Medical malpractice: Surgical errors that are preventable

If your doctor schedules you for surgery, it's understandable that you might feel a bit anxious or worried about the upcoming procedure. While many surgeries are elective, meaning you have them by choice, others may be needed to counteract life-threatening situations. Regardless of the specific details of your current health condition, you have a right to reasonably expect that your surgeon and attending medical staff will provide care according to the highest level of accepted safety standards and state laws.

Sadly, many Kentucky patients suffer serious injuries (even death) when one or more licensed medical professionals fail in their fiduciary duties on the job. Medical malpractice litigation often occurs because injured patients understand that their situations were preventable had it not been for someone's negligence. There are three main types of surgical errors you'll want to be aware of before heading to the operating room.

Make sure your surgeon is planning the right operation

Being a proactive patient is often the best way to stay on top of your own case. In fact, it might even help you avoid serious medical errors. For instance, it pays to speak directly to the surgeon who is responsible for performing your operation and to ask him or her to verbally state which procedure he or she is going to do. Wrong-procedure incidents are among the most common types of surgical errors in the United States.

Are you the correct patient?

Serious medical injuries unfortunately occur far too often in situations when patients are transported to operating rooms, undergo surgery and then later awaken from anesthesia to learn that the surgeon thought they were another patient. You can imagine how shocking it would be to hear that your medical team got its patients mixed-up and the surgery you had was meant for another person.

Right operation, wrong body part

Wrong-site operations top most lists regarding frequently reported surgical errors in Kentucky and beyond. If you're having knee surgery, for instance, you'll want to make sure the surgeon plans on operating on the correct knee.

There's a medical term for wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient incidents. The term is "never events" because such things should never happen. These are preventable errors that usually occur because of lack of proper communication between staff members, poor documentation or outright disregard for safety protocol. 

If you suffer injury from a surgical error

No individual should have to face the financial consequences of medical malpractice on his or her own without any means of recourse. If you're lucky enough to survive a medical mistake, you may need additional surgery or other care during recovery. Medical treatment, physical therapy and in-home care can be extremely expensive. Many injured medical patients seek financial recovery for damages by filing lawsuits in civil court against those who were negligent.

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