Errors made during inpatient or outpatient surgical procedures can result in serious and potentially life complications for patients. While filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help you recover damages for any injuries you suffer, victims of these errors may be left with permanent disabilities or experience chronic health problems as a result. The following outlines some of the most common types of surgical errors as well as questions you should ask your doctor before undergoing any procedure.
Common Types Of Surgical Errors
Medical mistakes have become one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that surgical errors are among the most common. These can occur during major procedures performed in a hospital operating room, as well as during routine surgeries performed in outpatient surgical centers. The most common types of surgical errors include:
- Wrong site surgeries, performed on the wrong location or body part
- Wrong procedure surgeries, which may interfere with otherwise healthy body processes while failing to address the real issue
- Wrong patient surgeries, which can occur due to errors on the part of the surgeon or hospital staff, or when patient charts and records are confused or read improperly
Ask Your Doctor These Questions Before Surgery
Studies from Johns Hopkins Medicine indicate that surgical errors affect more than 4,000 patients each year. Rushed procedures and lack of effective verbal or written communications are often to blame. To protect yourself when undergoing a procedure, they advise asking your doctors, nurses, and other attendants the following questions:
- What is the procedure you recommend, and why do I need it? Demand a clear answer on why your procedure is necessary and the timeframe under which it needs to be done.
- What are my alternatives? Whereas some surgeries are medically necessary to restore your health or repair an injury, there may be alternatives which should be discussed.
- What will this procedure accomplish, and how long will the effects last? Certain types of procedures offer permanent solutions to health problems, while others offer a temporary fix and will need to be repeated in the future.
- What are the risks and potential complications of this procedure? It is important to carefully weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages before having surgery.
- What is my prognosis if I do not have the condition? Some conditions may worsen, while others could resolve themselves.
Do your research in choosing both a doctor and a facility with experience in performing the type of procedure you are having done, and make sure that the nurses and staff check your patient identification and charts before putting you under.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Uncovering errors made by doctors, surgeons, and hospital staff can prove challenging, but our South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys are here to help. Contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm if you have suffered injury or ill effects as the result of a surgical procedure. We offer a free consultation where we can review your case and help determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.