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How to protect yourself against a surgical error

Even though it’s not something you’re excited about, a surgical procedure may be necessary to restore your previous level of health. And for that reason alone, you’re okay with the idea of moving forward.

However, even if you understand that the procedure is necessary, you may still have questions and concerns. For example, you’re worried that an error may occur before, during or after your procedure, thus resulting in physical harm.

There are many types of surgical errors, including but not limited to:

  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Leaving equipment behind
  • Receiving the wrong operation
  • Awakening during the procedure

The unfortunate truth is that there’s nothing you can do to completely protect yourself against a surgical error. But there are steps you can take to ease your mind and help your cause. Here are some things you can do:

  • Carefully choose your surgeon: Take the time to compare surgeons and learn more about each one before making your decision. Read online reviews, ask questions and express your concerns to your medical team.
  • Finalize the details the day before: The day before your surgery, you’re likely to hear from a staff member on your medical team. Take this time to discuss the final details of your procedure. This is your time to verify everything from the type of procedure to how long it’s expected to take.
  • Ask questions: For example, when you arrive at the hospital for your procedure, you’ll go through various pre-op stages. If you have questions, ask them now. If you have concerns, take steps to alleviate your stress. Your medical team will want you to be 100% comfortable as you go into surgery. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Even the best and most reputable surgeons have the potential to make a mistake. If this happens, learn as much as you can about what went wrong, the impact on your health and the next steps you can take.

This is also a good time to seek a second opinion to better understand your current situation and how to proceed.

Once you understand the impact of the surgical error, you can then learn more about your legal rights and how to hold the negligent medical professional responsible.