Even the most routine of surgical procedures comes with some risks, but patients should feel confident when going under the knife. Unfortunately, the negligence of surgeons and other medical professionals can lead to devastating injury and even death. But how common are surgical errors?
A 2016 study by Johns Hopkins Medicine found that there are on average 250,000 deaths annually caused by medical error. That number puts this cause of death as the third leading cause, even above respiratory disease. Some of the most common types of surgical errors include the following.
Operating on the incorrect body parts
Most patients go into surgery trusting that their doctors will operate on the correct area of the body. However, there are numerous cases in which the strong side was operated on or even the wrong surgery was performed. This can lead to injury and the need for further medical care.
Leaving instruments behind
When a surgeon or surgical assistant leaves an instrument in a patient’s body, it can wreak havoc. Surgeons are required to account for all instruments, but negligence may lead them to make this costly mistake.
Not preventing infection
Even when surgery has gone well, the risk of infection should be at top of mind for medical professionals. Not keeping an eye out for a preventable infection can lead to severe and life-threatening complications.
If you are undergoing surgery soon or recently had a procedure that left you injured, it is important to know what types of surgical errors are considered common types of medical malpractice.