It’s hard to imagine that it would happen to you, but surgical mistakes do happen to innocent patients every day. Whether it’s leaving a tool inside a newly sutured wound or giving a patient the wrong medications while under anesthesia, surgical errors have the potential to be extremely dangerous.
Some of the most significant surgical errors are called “never events,” because of the fact that they shouldn’t happen under any circumstances. Things like operating on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong body part or even doing the wrong procedure can happen and negatively affect the patient’s life and potential health outcomes.
How do surgeons take steps to lower the risk of mistakes?
For many surgeons, something that has helped is the surgical timeout. This is a planned time when they stop prior to the procedure and review what is about to take place. This is a quick way to make sure mistakes are identified before a surgery begins. The surgical timeout involves everyone who is in the operating room, which is helpful for improving communication.
Another method that has improved outcomes is using surgical safety checklists, such as identifying how many sponges go in and come out of a patient or tracking the tools that have been used. This helps minimize the total number of objects left inside patients accidentally.
Regardless of these interventions, patients are still suffering from surgical mistakes each and every day. They happen more often than you may believe. If you end up suffering from complications from surgical errors, you may be able to file a claim and seek compensation for what you’ve been through.