This may seem unthinkable, but it actually happens so frequently that the World Health Organization (WHO) has created surgical checklists that surgeons follow in an attempt to mitigate the volume of these surgical mishaps.
According to The Journal of Patient Safety, between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital in the U.S. for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. This makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in America, according to the CDC. The NY Times and the JAMA Surgery Network reported a study that concluded there are 1,300 to 2,700 wrong-site procedures annually in the U.S. With this kind of medical track record in our First World Hospitals, the chances of you suffering from even a minor surgical error, are quite high.
Here is what you should review after your surgery and what you can do if you believe you suffered a surgical error in Alabama.
Common Surgical Errors
Other than operating on the wrong body part, operating on the wrong patient and performing the wrong surgery, the following surgical errors are most commonly prevalent in surgical malpractice cases:
- Leaving surgical tools and objects in the patient’s body
- Anesthesia failures and miscalculations resulting in lack of oxygen, brain damage and/or death
- Prominent nerve damage
- Punctured organs
- Dangers of Surgical Errors
Signs and Symptoms of Surgical Errors
Even when surgeons following the WHO standards and implement safety procedures, such as inventorying equipment, verifying a patient and the surgical plan, and taking adequate breaks to review their surgical work during the procedure, mistakes can happen. If you recently had surgery and start to experience any of the following symptoms, you should take immediate action:
- Intense, sharp pain at or near the surgical site
- Pain when urinating
- Abdominal pain
- Redness, soreness, or swelling near surgical wounds and ports
Many patients ignore certain symptoms by assuming they are side effects of the surgery. You should always discuss with your surgeon what is to be expected after a procedure, and if your symptoms are falling outside of those expectations, seek treatment immediately. Regrettably, medical malpractice often occurs when the surgeon fails to diagnose an infection after surgery. Due to the symptoms mirroring those expected after surgery, surgeons can also fail to diagnose a deep infection, such as staph infection, at the surgical site.