Common Surgical Errors Leading to Malpractice Lawsuits

surgical lights shining brightUndergoing surgery is a traumatic experience for all. No matter the type of surgery or how minor the surgery might be, patients often feel some trepidation before being wheeled into the operating room. Everyone enters an operating room expecting that they will be healthier when they leave. That isn’t necessarily how it turns out, however. In too many instances, patients suffer injuries as a result of serious surgical errors that are made in the operating room.

It may seem surreal that errors should occur in an operating room, where there are fairly large numbers of staff members, all working together in seemingly perfect coordination. After all, a surgical room is one location where protocols and procedures should be followed strictly with each and every procedure. Unfortunately, that is always not the case. Miscommunication between staff members, failure to adhere to protocols and checklists, failure to follow basic medical guidelines, and other failures place patients at risk of injuries due to surgical errors.

Surgical errors can occur due to a number of causes. Lack of adequate planning for the surgery is just one of the causes of medical errors. In addition, there are basic simple steps that should be followed with each surgical procedure. As one example, surgical staff must mark the part of the body to operate on before the surgery.  When these steps are not taken, there is an increased risk to patient safety.

Lack of communication among members of the surgical team is another major factor in surgical errors occurring across Indiana every year. Miscommunication about the dosage of medications or correct protocol procedures that must be followed can easily lead to a potentially serious error. Failure to follow a proper checklist also contributes to surgical errors. A checklist may call for doctors to take time out before the surgery, accurately mark the site of the patient’s body to be operated on, and account for all the surgical instruments and medical implements before the surgery is complete. Failure to follow the checklists may result in a miscount of the number of sponges, scalpels, and other medical implements when the patient is sewn up after the surgery. This can result in staff failing to realize that surgical tools have been left behind in the patient’s body.

All of these are dangerous surgical errors, but the good news is that none of them are unpreventable. Following basic medical and surgical guidelines, maintaining open lines of communication between members of the surgical team, and adhering to checklists can significantly help reduce the risk of such errors.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP, represent persons who have been injured as a result of medical negligence across Indiana and we encourage you to call today to see if we can help with your case.