Patients who need to have surgery depend on the surgeon and the rest of the staff in the operating room to keep them safe during the procedure. All hospitals and surgical centers must have protocol and procedures in place to help keep the patients from suffering harm.
There are several dangers that have to be addressed in these plans. When any of these protocols is missing or if someone in the surgical suite neglects their duties, the patient might be injured.
Types of surgical errors
Many types of surgical errors exist, but some are more common than others. The Joint Commission notes that around 40 cases of wrong-patient, wrong-procedure, wrong-side surgeries occur each week in this country. These are all preventable. Other common surgical errors include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Nerve damage, possibly due to positioning problems
- Retained foreign objects within the patient
Some surgical issues occur after the patient is out of surgery. Infections are one of the main issues that might occur. Proper monitoring can help to prevent this.
All of these problems could be reduced by having a set safety plan and sticking to it before, during and after procedures. Unfortunately, some operating schedules are so packed that the medical team feels the need to rush, which can lead to errors.
Ensuring patient safety
The safety culture has to start before the patient is brought to the operating room. Staff members must verify that they have the correct patient and that they are doing the right procedure. In the operating room, checks must be done on the patient. A count of all items used in the surgery is necessary. Items must be noted when they are used and then checked to ensure they aren't left in the patient. Thorough communication among everyone is imperative. Patients must be closely watched as they come out of anesthesia and in the post-surgical period. Any potential issues must be promptly addressed by the medical team.
Surgical errors can lead to long-lasting impacts that can affect every aspect of the victim's life. The costs of care for these errors can be exorbitant. Because of this and the other effects of the error, some patients may wish to seek compensation after this type if incident. There is no reason why the victim should be expected to cover the financial damages that are due to medical malpractice.