Advances in medical technology have saved countless lives. Although most surgical procedures are performed without complications, there are instances where there are serious issues that result from error. Infact, there are still approximately 4,000 medical malpractice cases reported across the country annually. There is the potential for preventable errors from any surgery that can result in the need to file a surgical malpractice case. It is important to educate yourself about common surgical errors before you or a loved one undergo a procedure. If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should immediately consult a qualified attorney to help you navigate the red tape that will result.
Although there are many potential errors, there are a few procedures which have the highest error rate and they aren't always the most complicated procedures. Most of the procedures that have a high error rate are common ones that most will have at some point in their lives. The most common errors in the operating room include:
Severing of the common bile duct during gall bladder surgery
Removal of the gall bladder is a common surgery. Where the surgeon is not careful, he or she may cut what is called the common bile duct instead of the correct organ to cut. This error can lead to a necessary restorative surgery and a lifetime of digestive problems.
Wrong patient surgery
This surgical error can occur when patient paperwork and records are not handled properly. If the hospital staff or the doctor misplace orders, a surgical error can happen. This can be life-threatening, especially if the patient is gravely ill and does not receive the proper treatment immediately.
Wrong side surgery
Performing a surgery on the wrong side of a patient can happen. If there is an error with the initial paperwork the surgeon uses to guide him to perform the surgery, then the operation may be done on the wrong side of the patient. For example, they may need an operation on an organ located on the right side of the body, but the surgeon operates on the left. As a result, the patient still has the original issue and may have additional problems as a result of an unnecessary surgery. Not only is this error dangerous, it can leave a patient recovering for twice as long as expected. An error like this can be life-threatening for people who are in poor health or have chronic conditions.
Leaving surgical instruments inside of the patient
It may sound like something that could never happen in real life, but unfortunately, this is more common than you would think. Some patients have had surgical instruments left inside of them, which cause serious complications and results in the need for additional surgery. This additional surgery can complicate an already present issue and put the patient at risk for infection, bleeding, and internal injuries.
Perforation of the bowel during colonoscopy or polyp removal
After the age of 40, it is recommended that people begin to monitor their colon for polyps and areas of concern. The standard procedure to detect these growths is called a colonoscopy. It is a routine procedure that requires anesthesia but can be performed on an outpatient basis. While the risks are minimal, there is still a small percentage of patients who experience perforations to the colon.
Laceration of bladder or colon during a hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a major medical procedure which requires the surgeon to work in an area of the body where a simple slip of the knife can result in an injury to internal organs such as the colon or the bladder. The result can be the beginning of a long series of complications including internal bleeding and infection.
Signs of a Surgical Error
The signs of a surgical error may not be readily apparent. It may take days or even weeks to determine there has been an error. One of the major red flags to look for is whether your condition remains the same or deteriorates after the surgery. If the surgical error involves leaving a foreign object inside of the body, you can experience extreme pain at the site of the surgery. It will continue to hurt and may even cause swelling and fluid to collect in the body.
An X-ray is the most common method of detection when a foreign body is suspected to be inside of a patient. If you begin to experience painful symptoms you didn't experience before the surgery, you may want to request a series of tests including an X-ray to help determine if you have been a victim of a surgical error.
A wrong side surgery is more quickly diagnosed because it is readily visible to the patient. If you suspect you have been a victim of a wrong side surgery it is important to bring it to the attention of the doctor and hospital staff immediately. Don't forget to seek legal counsel right away to prevent further discrepancies and to protect you from future mishaps. If you are the victim of a wrong patient surgery, you may be able to tell immediately, especially if it is a major procedure. Having this type of surgical error can compound your original problem and leave you needing several surgeries to correct the mistake.
If you experience any unusual pain, inflammation, and increase in symptoms, you should consult a qualified medical professional and contact an experienced malpractice attorney immediately. The sooner you protect yourself, the faster you can secure the help you need to recover and pay for the additional medical expenses that will occur as a result.
Be Aware Of These Common Surgical Errors
If you or a loved one is scheduled for a surgical procedure, make sure you are aware of the recovery timeline, possible complications, and the common surgical errors that may occur. Surgical malpractice is a real possibility and warrants your attention. Always monitor your symptoms after a surgery and alert your medical professional if you don't get better or develop new, troubling symptoms. Time may be of the essence when dealing with a surgical error because it can prove to be life-threatening.
In the event you suspect hospital malpractice, you can consult medical malpractice lawyers to help you determine if you have a case. They can assist you in determining if an error was made and through the process of correcting the problem and securing compensation to cover hospital bills and other financial strains resulting from the malpractice. The sooner you seek assistance, the sooner you will be able to begin recovering physically and financially.
If you are planning to have surgery, or know someone who is in need of surgery, make sure that you know the signs to look for and what to do if you develop them. Before you undergo a procedure, make sure you know which questions to ask to help ensure your safety and cement your understanding for what to expect post-op. If you think you have a surgical malpractice case, you should contact Harry Cohen & Associates immediately to begin moving forward with your case.