Surgery has become an incredibly technologically-advanced process. In fact, there are numerous procedures that surgeons perform using robotic devices. Most surgeries occur either in private, state-of-the-art operating facilities or modern hospitals.
In both scenarios, the facility likely has numerous safety practices in place to minimize surgical mistakes. Having multiple support staff members on hand during the operation helps ensure a surgeon doesn’t make a mistake. Charting obligations, like needing to account for every implement used after the procedure, is also a way to deter major surgical mistakes.
Many hospitals even have patients circle the body part that requires the operation before they undergo anesthesia. Do all of these efforts mean that surgical mistakes are now a thing of the past?
Surgical mistakes are still a major issue
Despite cutting-edge technology, better medical knowledge and careful training for medical professionals, surgical mistakes still occur every week in the United States. According to research on reported surgical errors, there are roughly 4,000 serious mistakes that occur in domestic operating rooms each year.
Many of these mistakes involve huge oversights on the part of the operating surgeon and their support staff. Some of the more commonly-reported surgical errors include leaving foreign objects behind in someone’s body, performing the wrong procedure on someone or operating on the wrong body part. Most of these mistakes would require revision procedures to correct. Often, they can prove fatal, especially in scenarios involving wrong-site or wrong-procedure mistakes.
What happens after a surgical mistake?
Sometimes, hospitals quickly realize that a mistake occurred and seek to correct it. They may notify the patient or their family members shortly after the end of the surgery about the need for a revision procedure.
Unfortunately, it is common practice for facilities to ambush people with liability waivers when suggesting a revision procedure. Those desperate to correct the recent surgical mistake may sign forms, not realizing that they may have just absolved the hospital of all responsibility for whatever losses they suffer.
Those who suspect a surgical mistake may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim, which may lead to an insurance payout or civil litigation. Identifying warning signs of surgical mistakes and getting the right help could protect you from this shockingly common modern form of medical malpractice.