Surgical procedures require precision. When the operating room is full of doctors and nurses, this means that communication has to be clear and easily understood. But it also has to be exact. Unfortunately, though, far too often the language used in the operating is room is vague or ambiguous, which can lead to surgical errors that have tremendous implications for patients. Just think about it. If someone tells you to cut something shorter, it may not matter if you and the person telling you to cut something shorter have the same length in mind, but in the operating room this difference of interpretation can be a matter of life and death.
New research shows the risk of inexact language.
A recently published study looked at this issue in-depth and found that the risk of serious medical error was heightened due to the use of ambiguous and otherwise inexact language. In fact, during the analysis of just six operations, researchers discovered 131 uses of inexact language that could have led to a medical error. Researchers indicate that a lot of these ambiguities are attributable to politeness, which oftentimes means being less direct.
There are a lot of ways that the language used in the operating room can be imprecise. The use of terms like “this” and “there” are ambiguous, and sometimes even the use of pronouns can be confusing depending on the context of their use. Therefore, researchers suggest that medical professionals find new ways to improve the clarity of communications in the operating room, which may even include the use of directional signs.
Know how to hold negligent medical professionals accountable
One seemingly minor mistake during surgery can leave a patient with a serious injury that has long-term implications for his or her physical, emotional, and financial health. With so much on the line, expectations are high for medical professionals, and rightfully so. That’s why when they’ve made a mistake that leaves a patient harmed, those medical professionals need to be held accountable. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a surgical error, then you might want to consider speaking with a legal professional who can help you devise a plan to seek that accountability and recover the compensation that you or your loved one deserve.