Surgeons are some of the most carefully monitored and highly educated medical professionals around. Many patients assume that when they go into surgery, they don’t have to worry about medical mistakes. Unfortunately, surgeons, just like other physicians, can and do make mistakes while providing care for patients and practicing medicine.
Unlike smaller mistakes, which could include prescribing an incorrect medication or ignoring a patient report of symptoms, surgical mistakes are often instantly evident and can have catastrophic, lifelong consequences for a patient. If you will soon go into surgery, knowing a little bit about the most common kinds of surgical mistakes that occur can help you avoid them.
Surgeons perform the wrong procedure or operate on the wrong body part
Some of the most common surgical mistakes include wrong site operations, which happens when a doctor operates on the wrong side of the body. Perhaps an individual needed to have their right kidney removed. The surgeon might remove the left one, further endangering the patient by making another surgery necessary and by removing an otherwise healthy and functional organ.
Wrong procedure mistakes involve the doctor doing a completely wrong operation on a patient. Additionally, it is also common for surgeons to leave implements or materials like gauze inside a patient during surgery. Each of these mistakes happens on average multiple times a week in the United States.
Verifying the procedure with the surgeon before anesthesia and allowing a surgeon to mark the surgical site while you are still awake can reduce your risk of these issues. Patients who experience surgical mistakes may have no choice but to bring a medical malpractice claim to recoup the financial and medical consequences of such a drastic mistake.