Surgical Errors: A Product of Negligence

Failure to provide the quality of care a patient rightly deserves is the major contributing in of the many types of malpractice cases in the field of medicine. This failure, which is too common in so many hospitals and clinics in the U.S., is often the cause of prolonged or new illness, permanent disability, other life-threatening conditions, or death. Medical errors, however, can be prevented since these are merely due to negligence or carelessness committed by no other than medical professionals. According to the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services, about 180,000 Medicare patients died in 2010 due to negligent or careless medical acts (an article printed in the Journal of Patient Safety, however, says that the number of deaths during the same year was between 210,000 and 440,000).

Surgical error is one example of medical mistake that can cause serious harm. Surgery, being a risky procedure, is resorted to by doctors only as a last resort – after all other attempts in treating an illness fail. A patient, who has been advised (by his/her doctor) to undergo surgery, puts a great deal of trust in his/her doctor’s ability, trusting that he/she has correctly diagnosed his/her illness and that surgery is a necessary part of treatment. In many occasions, however, instead of improving patients’ conditions, surgical procedures have only become harmful. An alarming thing, though, is the fact that a number of these surgical errors were committed by either by highly-respected medical professionals or doctors in some of the best hospitals in the country.

A few types of surgical errors listed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality include: wrong dosage of anesthesia; accidental puncture or laceration; wrong-person surgery; wrong-site surgery; incorrect surgical procedure; removal of wrong organ; a foreign body or surgical instrument left inside the body of a patient; improper suturing; hematoma or post-operative hemorrhage; respiratory failure, or pulmonary embolism; wound dehiscence (the rupturing of a wound along a surgical suture, which is a surgical complication that may be due to age, diabetes, obesity, poor knotting, or post-surgery trauma due to the wound); and, wrongful death resulting from complications from negligent surgery.

As explained by New Jersey personal injury lawyers of the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, “medical malpractice and hospital negligence claims may be brought against all types of doctors and health care professionals, including:

  • Surgeons, who make mistakes in operating rooms;
  • Emergency room doctors and nurses, who commit errors in diagnosis or treatment;
  • Obstetricians and OB nurses, whose negligence results in avoidable birth injury;
  • Generalists, who fail to notice symptoms of serious illness;
  • Specialists, whose negligence results in failure to diagnose cancer, delay the appropriate diagnosis or other serious medical conditions; and,
  • Nurses, who make medication mistakes or other errors during in-patient care.

These accidents can be devastating and cause long-term injuries with debilitating side effects.”

It may be best for people who feel that their health only worsened after undergoing surgery to have their condition checked and, if something not right is made obvious, to seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer for whatever legal action they may have a right to pursue.


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