Surgical errors are a devastating form of medical malpractice, as mistakes made during an operation can result in unnecessary pain, suffering, and mental and physical trauma. While undergoing surgery, patients trust their lives to the hands of a surgeon. When surgeons incompetently perform their duties, serious injury or death can occur.
Mistakes made during a surgery can be terrifying, ranging from operating on the wrong patient to performing surgery on the wrong body part. Any type of negligence can have severe repercussions in such high-stakes situations. Surgical errors are appropriately referred to as “never events”— events that never should happen.
The Most Common Surgical Error Cases Our Kansas City Medical Malpractice Law Firm Have Seen
- Surgery performed on the wrong body part
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient
- Wrong procedure performed on a patient
- Retention of a foreign object inside a patient after surgery
- Intraoperative or immediate postoperative death
The statistics surrounding surgical errors in the United States are staggering: 59% of surgeons have operated on the wrong side of a patient and 23% at the wrong site, 14% performed the wrong procedure, and 5% had the wrong patient. Some hospitals do make efforts to prevent these cases from happening by developing procedures for identifying the correct patient, procedure, and site before surgery, but for some, it’s too late.
Communication discrepancies are the main cause of surgical errors. Hospitals now require a mandatory pause (“timeout”) before surgery for all personnel to discuss the details of an invasive operation. However, mistakes still occur—before the patient reaches the operating room, during a rushed timeout, or at any time during the surgery. Total prevention of surgical errors is impossible, since surgeons are human and make mistakes.
Human error and lack of communication are the main causes of surgical mistakes. Proper attention to detail and due care with patients’ lives can prevent these issues. When a surgeon takes his or her responsibilities lightly or acts with negligence, the results can be deadly. Surgical errors can cause permanent disability, serious health damages, mental and emotional damages, and other injuries.
Impact of Surgical Errors
Depending on the type of surgical error, victims’ results can vary significantly. The effects of medical errors can continue long after the hospital releases a patient. Surgical errors not only lead to permanent quality of life challenges and physical harm; they’re emotionally damaging.
When surgical errors result in wrongful death, families may feel robbed of natural healing and a life unnecessarily cut short. They may feel horrified that a place of supposed safety directly caused a loved one’s death. Those permanently injured by surgical errors are stuck with the emotional damage of institution betrayal and the knowledge that due care could have prevented these damages.
Our experience with medical malpractice lawsuits in Missouri and Kansas gives us firsthand knowledge of the dangerous and lethal surgical mistakes that can happen. When surgeons act negligently and don’t follow established standards of care, you need skilled legal representation.
Your Kansas City Trial Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured at the hands of a negligent surgeon, you have a right to sue those responsible for the injury for financial compensation. Unnecessary blood loss, lacerated internal organs, unnecessary surgery, and many other surgical errors can result in serious personal injury and permanent damage.