When your doctor schedules you for a surgical procedure, you want to feel you can trust the operating room team implicitly.
However, errors do occur and among them are alarming “never events” along with other common surgical mistakes.
Errors with anesthesia
The anesthesiologist must review all relevant medical information about a patient to ensure that he or she receives the proper amount of oxygen. Too much could cause brain damage and too little could cause the patient to awaken during surgery.
Leaving objects inside a patient
Although it sounds implausible, surgeons sometimes finish a procedure while leaving certain items inside the body of the patient. Examples include clamps, sponges, gauze and scalpels. Items left behind can cause pain and serious infections.
The medical community defines “never events” as those that should never happen. They include “wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors” (WSPEs). Examples of never events include operating on the wrong side of the body or performing a surgical procedure on the wrong patient following a mix-up in similar names.
Studies reveal that communication issues constitute a major cause of WSPEs. Concerned medical personnel addressed the problem by developing the “surgical timeout.” This is a planned pause in which operating room team members share important aspects of an upcoming surgery so that everyone is on the same page. Although the timeout was originally created for surgeries, it is now required for all invasive procedures.
After-effects and medical negligence
Following a surgery, your doctor must be sure that the hospital does not release you prematurely. The medical team must perform post-surgical follow-ups to avoid your having any complications from the procedure. If medical personnel fail to follow up, they could incur liability for any personal injury you sustain as a result of their negligence.