Surgical Errors That Can Lead to Medical Malpractice

May 23, 2020 by Yale Spector

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors and medical mistakes are far more common than we think. Thousands of patients suffer from surgical errors every year and because of this, it is a leading cause of death in the United States. In a recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, (NCBI) they found that approximately 400,000 hospitalized patients each year experience some type of preventable harm with at least 4,000 of these cases being surgical errors. These types of medical mistakes can have serious, sometimes even fatal consequences for the patient. Our medical negligence attorneys are sharing surgical errors that can happen in hospitals today that can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What Is a Surgical Error?

A surgical error is any medical mistake that is preventable. While there is some element of risk going into all surgeries, surgical errors go beyond these risks. Before undergoing any type of surgery, your doctor will have you sign a consent form, stating that you are aware of the known risks. A medical malpractice case may arise if the surgical error falls below the medical standard of care and results in harm to you.

Examples of Surgical Errors

There is a wide range of surgical errors that can occur, but here are some of the most common instances:

  • Wrong site surgery – this type of medical error occurs when the person’s surgery is performed on the wrong body part or organ. 
  • Wrong patient surgery – if a patient’s chart is swapped with someone else’s, a wrong patient surgery may occur. While rare, this can lead to extreme complications and devastating effects to the victim.  
  • Leaving equipment inside a patient – sponges, gauze or surgical instruments can be left inside a patient after the incisions have been sutured. This is more common than you think and can lead to serious complications or infection.
  • Nerve damage – this can occur from injuring a nerve during the surgery or from a mistake in the administration of anesthesia. 
  • Anesthesia errors – the most frequent—and deadly—surgical error to occur. This involves the doctor administering too much or too little anesthesia.

Reasons for Surgical Errors

No two surgeries are alike and every surgical error that occurs has the potential to be unique. The most common reasons for surgical errors are:

  • Incompetence 
  • Inadequate preoperative planning
  • Miscommunication
  • Fatigue
  • Drugs/alcohol
  • Neglect

Victims of surgical errors face a lifetime of challenges. At Spector Law Group, our medical negligence lawyers are here to help you. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and will work diligently to ensure all necessary actions are taken for your case. If you or someone you know has suffered physical and emotional damages caused by a surgical error, contact our experienced medical negligence attorneys now at 443-505-7343.