blog home Medical Malpractice What Are the Most Common Errors Made by Surgeons?

What Are the Most Common Errors Made by Surgeons?

By lladmin on April 30, 2024

There is no excuse for surgical errors that cause patient injuries and fatalities. Unfortunately, surgeons make countless mistakes that drastically harm patients every year.

Surgical errors take many forms. In these cases, patients and their loved ones have the right to seek compensation for the injuries they have suffered.

Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis Can Be Life-Threatening

When a surgeon fails to accurately diagnose a condition, it can lead to incorrect or unnecessary procedures. For example, a patient may undergo surgery for a condition they do not have, exposing them to unnecessary risks and complications. A delay in diagnosis may cause essential treatment to be postponed for no good reason. Unnecessary treatment delays can also allow the underlying condition to worsen, and this can be life-threatening.

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are the result of mistakes such as inadequate medical evaluations, doctors who rush appointments, misinterpretation of diagnostic tests, or communication breakdowns among healthcare providers. The consequences for patients can be devastating, leading to prolonged suffering, additional medical costs, and decreased trust in the healthcare system.

Understanding What a Wrong-Site Surgery Is and the Dangers

Wrong-site surgery (WSS) is a medical error where a surgical procedure is performed on the wrong part of the body. These inexcusable mistakes are caused by inadequate, negligent hospital staff, miscommunication, and inadequate preoperative verification processes, but surgeons are ultimately responsible for their actions. These are called “never events” because they should never happen.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), estimates of WSS range as high as 4.5 percent, making it the fourth largest cause of preventable problems in the healthcare field. Victims of WSS may endure unnecessary pain, additional surgeries, and prolonged recovery times, significantly affecting their quality of life. Preventing wrong-site surgeries requires rigorous adherence to safety protocols, including the universal protocol of time-out to verify the correct patient, procedure, and site.

When Surgical Instruments Are Left Inside the Body

Surgical instruments being left inside the body, also known as retained surgical items (RSIs), is a severe error that can lead to significant health risks. Items such as sponges, clamps, and retractors might be unintentionally left inside a patient’s body during surgery due to lapses in counting protocols or unnecessary distractions in the operating room.

RSIs may result in infections, internal bleeding, organ damage, and severe pain. Additional surgeries are frequently required to remove the foreign objects left behind by negligent surgeons. This poses further risks to the patient.

Inadequate Preoperative Planning Can Increase Risks

Thorough preoperative planning involves comprehensive patient evaluations, accurate diagnosis, and detailed surgical preparations. When these steps are neglected or rushed, the risk of errors increases substantially. For example, failing to review a patient’s medical history can lead to incorrect surgical decisions. Failure to conduct necessary tests is another common preoperative error.

Insufficient planning can compromise the safety and success of the procedure. Detailed surgical plans must be approved by the surgeon and communicated clearly among all team members to ensure everyone is aligned and prepared.

Communication Errors Can Lead to Surgical Mistakes

Communication errors are a leading cause of surgical mistakes, often resulting in severe consequences for patients. As leader of the surgical team, a surgeon must develop a work environment designed to eliminate communication errors. Misunderstandings or incomplete information can lead to errors such as operating on the wrong site or patient, incorrect dosage of anesthesia, or failure to follow surgical protocols.

The hierarchical structures in medical teams can discourage junior staff from speaking up about potential errors or concerns. When surgeons ensure that all team members have a clear understanding of the patient’s condition, the planned procedure, and their specific roles, it can improve treatment outcomes and patient safety.

How Lack of Experience and Training Result in Medical Malpractice

Inexperienced surgeons may misjudge critical aspects of the surgery, such as the amount of force needed for an incision or the precise location of a surgical cut. Insufficient training and instruction in how to properly use the latest surgical techniques and technologies results in outdated practices being employed, further endangering patient safety.

Continuous professional development and rigorous training programs are essential to ensure that surgeons remain competent and confident in their abilities. Hospitals and medical institutions must prioritize ongoing education and hands-on practice to minimize these risks.

Denver Surgical Error Malpractice Lawyers Win Big Cases

If you or a loved one was injured by a medical error, contact the experienced trial attorneys at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. For over 40 years, we’ve been getting justice for people in Denver who were injured by medical malpractice. Our personal injury law firm has won record-breaking medical malpractice settlements for our clients.

Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubble, and the National Trial Lawyers have all recognized Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. for the outstanding service we provide.

Call (303) 759-9945 and speak with one of our Denver surgical error malpractice attorneys today — there is no charge for an initial consultation.

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Posted in: Medical Malpractice