Some surgical errors are obvious. A doctor may leave an instrument, sponge, needle, or other tool inside the patient. A surgery may be performed on the wrong patient. The wrong limb could be operated on. The patient may fall off the operating table.
There are also mistakes that are much less obvious. There may be an unexplainable bad result. The patient may suffer a symptom that is not a risk that was known for that medical procedure.
Causes of surgical errors can be the result of careless or negligent actions or omissions by medical personnel.
- There may have been a lack of good pre-operative planning.
- An error may have occurred during the procedure.
- Incisions may have been made in the wrong place.
- Post-operative errors may occur.
- The medical personnel may not take the necessary measures to prevent an infection.
Surgical errors are a widespread occurrence in the United States. Many of these errors could be prevented if strict safety protocols or rules were adopted and followed by medical professionals. The most important part of these protocols is the check list and the “time-outs” used to verity that they have the right patient, the correct body part, and will be performing the right procedure.
Before undergoing the surgical procedure, the doctor is required to inform the patient of the risks associated with the surgery. Every surgery carries some risk, and the patient assumes this risk provided that they are told about them. However, a surgical mistake is not a risk assumed by the patient when agreeing to undergo the surgery. A surgical error is a departure from good medical practice and is the doctor’s fault. New York law gives the patient the right to make a claim against the doctor for their injuries that resulted from the error.
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