Surgical errors are every patient’s worst nightmare. From removing the wrong organ to operating on the wrong part of the body, these errors can be life-changing, cause pain and lead to the need for further operations.
It is in every patient’s best interests to know what you can do to prevent surgical errors. While not everything is going to be under your control, there are two things you can take to protect yourself when you’re not under anesthesia.
Be your own advocate — know what your surgery entails
Don’t sit back and relax when medical providers are discussing your surgery, the part of the body that is being operated on or other information. This information is discussed with you so that you can make educated decisions and know what will potentially happen. Every time you meet with your surgical team, you should clarify their roles and verify that the correct body part is marked for surgery. If anything seems incorrect, speak with the surgeon directly and make sure the issues are fixed before you go under the knife.
Be clear about allergies or intolerances
If you have an allergy to a medication, you need to let your surgical team know. Failing to do so could lead to serious complications if they give you a medication you can’t have. If they don’t go over your allergies before a surgery or you don’t see it on your bracelet when you’re checked in, clarify and make sure the team knows.
Take the time to make sure everything, from your name to the surgery that is going to be performed, is correct, so that you have the best chance of coming out of general anesthesia and recovering well.