Surgery has become commonplace in modern America, and people often fail to give these invasive medical procedures the respect that they deserve. Any surgery can lead to catastrophic and fatal consequences, and surgical mistakes do still happen even in the most professional settings.
Even outpatient surgeries that don’t require general anesthesia come with serious risks for the patient undergoing the procedure. When someone requires full sedation and the surgery is quite invasive, the risk of something going wrong might be higher than the patient realizes.
Some kinds of surgical mistakes are so preventable that experts call them never events. They should never happen because the surgeon, their support staff and the hospital where they operate should be able to take the necessary steps to prevent them from occurring. The three surgical never events below affect many patients across the country each year.
Objects left behind after a surgery
Nothing disrupts your recovery from a surgery like needing to reopen the surgical wound and remove an object that the surgeon left behind by mistake. For roughly 39 patients every week in the United States, that is exactly what happens after an operation. A foreign body left behind after the procedure will endanger their health unless they undergo a second operation to remove the forceps, gauze or other items that don’t belong inside their body.
Wrong-site or wrong-side procedures
Surgeons can make mistakes about where they perform the procedure on a person’s body. Such mistakes occur roughly 20 times a week, which is why many modern medical centers require that patience circle the body part with a marker prior to the surgery so that the surgeon will be less likely to operate on the wrong location.
Wrong-patient or wrong-procedure mistakes
Doctors don’t just operate on the wrong part of someone’s body. Another 20 patients every week undergo the wrong procedure entirely. Either the surgeon misreads the notes for the operation or they confuse two patients and perform the wrong surgery on one of them. In either case, such mistakes can lead to devastating consequences for the patient and may require extensive treatment and revision procedures to correct the mistake.
Such mistakes can cost a patient thousands and could give rise to successful medical malpractice claims. Learning about surgical mistakes can help those who think they may have recently experienced medical malpractice.