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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP | Dec 5, 2019

Surgical Errors: What are They?

Categories: Medical Malpractice

doctors performing an operation Medical malpractice cases are far too common in the civil justice service. Unfortunately, the doctor-patient relationship becomes strained when medical professionals fail to take care of their patients’ health responsibly.

In the world of medical malpractice, some actions are worse than others. One of these actions, which is also a “never event,” is a surgical error. These mistakes can result in long-term injuries and significant problems for anyone who goes through this challenging situation.

People must recognize the different types of surgical errors that exist. Knowing what surgical errors are can help in the event the injured person needs to file a lawsuit against the negligent medical professional and pursue compensation for severe damages.

Surgical errors fall in the following categories:

To learn about these mistakes, continue reading below.

If you suffer harm, call our firm at (216) 600-0114 for a free consultation.

Surgery on the Wrong Patient

One of the biggest problems is when a doctor performs surgery on the wrong patient. Misdiagnosis and miscommunication can cause significant problems in a hospital, including doctors mistaking patients and performing unnecessary procedures on them.

Surgery on the wrong patient can result in someone sustaining long-term physical problems, require further medical care, and many unexpected expenses.

Surgery on the Wrong Body Part

Misdiagnosis is a significant problem in the medical industry. Doctors must ensure they’re providing patients with correct information regarding their health. Medical professionals should understand various symptoms, advanced medical conditions, and what treatment they must provide.

When a doctor misdiagnoses a patient, they run a significant risk of providing an incorrect treatment. Misdiagnosis becomes even more damaging when it results in the doctor performing surgery on the wrong patient.

Someone who doesn’t have significant health issues may undergo surgery, resulting in further harm. The patient doesn’t get the actual treatment they need, and they require additional medical care for the new problems created by the surgical error.

Leaving an Item in the Patient

Doctors and nurses within the operating room are responsible for the full care of the patient, including the actual procedure and all post-operative care. When a doctor fails to remove all items from inside a patient, there can be severe issues that stem from the error.

Doctors may leave the following items inside a patient:

  • Sponges
  • Pins
  • Towels
  • Clamps
  • Retractors
  • Gauze
  • Scissors

Some of the items left within the patient can lead to multiple long-term health issues. These issues can include internal organ damage from punctures if the scissors move inside the patient. Sponges and gauze can also cause infections.

It is the responsibility of nurses and doctors to ensure they remove all items from the patient upon closing his or her incisions.

Nerve Damage

Surgery is a complicated procedure. Doctors must take the time and care to ensure the patient is safe from errors. Whenever doctors rush the procedure or make mistakes during the operation, they can injure another portion of the patient’s body.

For instance, if surgery results in the doctor hitting a nerve, it can lead to serious damage that impacts many parts of the patient’s body. Depending on the location and severity of the nerve damage, the patient may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chronic pain throughout his or her body
  • Sensitivity in multiple areas on his or her body
  • Numbness in the affected body part
  • Burning sensation in the affected body part
  • Positional awareness problems

Doctors can hit nerves with sharp surgical instruments, or the injury can occur when the doctor or nurse leaves scissors or a scalpel inside the patient.

Anesthesia Errors

During surgery, patients receive anesthesia to help during the procedure. Anesthesia makes it so the patient sleeps throughout the operation and doesn’t feel the surgery as it is happening. The patient feels pain when they awake, but anesthesia can help throughout the process, allowing doctors to finish the entire procedure.

The anesthesiologist is the medical professional responsible for providing this medication. Before they do so, the medical professional must check to ensure:

  • The patient doesn’t have an allergy to the anesthesia
  • The patient isn’t taking any medication that has adverse reactions to the anesthesia
  • The patient doesn’t receive too much anesthesia
  • The patient doesn’t receive too little anesthesia

Too much anesthesia and allergic reactions can lead to significant health issues. However, when the anesthesiologist provides too little anesthesia, the patient may feel the pain of the entire procedure. When this happens, it’s not only painful; it can also be mentally traumatizing. Patients must recognize their legal options following negligence.

How Our Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help

It’s crucial for all those who suffer injuries due to medical negligence. Moving forward after the act of malpractice can seem challenging, but victims are not alone. There are legal rights to help them move forward and pursue justice against the responsible party.

Our team of strong advocates works hard to help medical malpractice victims. We know how damaging it can be to suffer harm because of the broken trust between doctor and patient. Errors should not occur, but they often do, and those who suffer injuries deserve to act.

At Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, we believe in our clients’ rights. It’s our goal to ensure medical malpractice victims get the help they need to get through some of the most challenging times of their lives. We’ll go the extra mile to pursue maximum compensation.

Call our firm today at (216) 600-0114. We offer free consultations to help our potential clients understand what options they have to move forward.