Statistics reveal that errors from surgery occur in about 4,000 patients yearly, costing over a billion dollars. Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania or another state means negligence by a medical professional that causes more harm or death to the patient, including surgical errors. There are several types of surgical errors that a patient could experience.
Wrong-site surgery, wrong procedure or wrong patient
Wrong-site surgery typically occurs from the site being marked wrong or not marked at all. An example of the wrong surgical area may include preparing to remove a tumor from the wrong side of the body.
The patient could get the wrong procedure altogether because of a medical mix-up, which causes them to need additional procedures to correct it. An unnecessary incision or procedure can cause serious infections or damage adjacent organs if not treated immediately. A patient not scheduled for surgery may also get operated on by mistake.
Objects left in body
Another common surgical error involves leaving surgical objects inside a patient’s body. Some common objects that get left inside after surgery include drain tips, scalpels, sponges and surgical masks. About two-thirds of surgical object cases involve sponges since surgeons use them to control bleeding, so medical staff may fail to keep track of all of them. Objects left inside the body could cause serious pain, and patients typically need another operation to remove the instrument.
Anesthesiologists have the duty of monitoring patient vitals during surgery and checking for reactions. Too much or too little anesthesia, defective equipment and too long of a sedation can cause negative reactions.
Sometimes, patients do not receive adequate information or no information about the anesthesia. For example, local anesthesia has fewer risks than other type in correct dosages, but it can still cause issues in large doses. Common issues caused by anesthesia errors include stroke, heart attack and spinal cord injuries.
Patients have a right to seek compensation under medical malpractice law for preventable surgical errors. Victims of doctor mistakes need to prove negligence, so they should hire an attorney to help with their claim.