Surgical errors occur at an alarming rate in the U.S.

Surgical errors occur more often in the U.S. than some people may think. These medical mistakes can lead to severe pain and disabilities.

A number of people undergo surgical procedures each year in Indiana and across the country. Americans rely on medical professionals to perform life-saving procedures that will ultimately change their lives. Yet the surprising rate of surgical errors that occur in the U.S. each year may redirect some people's trust in the medical industry. While some operating room blunders are relatively minor, others can cause severe injuries, disabilities and even death to unsuspecting patients.

Research from Johns Hopkins University showed that more than 4,000 medical mistakes occur in the U.S. each year, and countless more go unreported. According to Medical News Today, surgeons leave foreign objects inside patients on an average of 39 times each week. Approximately 20 times each week, surgeons operate on the wrong body part. Surgical errors permanently injured 32.9 percent, killed 6.6 percent and caused temporary injuries to 59.2 percent of the people included in the study.

Types of surgical errors

There are several ways that surgeons and other operating room professionals can err when performing a procedure on a patient. These include:

  • Operating on the wrong body part can occur if a surgeon does not mark the surgical site or becomes disoriented during the preparation process.
  • Performing the wrong procedure on the wrong patient could be prevented by simply verifying information with the patient before the surgery.
  • Leaving medical instruments inside a patient's surgical site may result in infection, severe pain and death.
  • Failing to provide the correct dose of anesthesia could cause the patient to 'wake up' during the surgical procedure. In some cases, patients are awake but paralyzed during the surgery.
  • Failing to use proper aseptic technique may lead to cross contamination and infection.

Most surgical errors are completely preventable. Some medical institutions have implemented new technology in an attempt to reduce the number of surgical errors, injuries and deaths.

How do surgical errors occur?

According to American Medical News, miscommunication and failure to follow proper procedures cause a significant number of surgical errors. Confirming the patient's identity, verifying the scheduled procedure, keeping track of surgical instruments and marking the surgical site may seem like simple tasks. Yet, missing one of these vital steps of the process can lead to a devastating error and medical malpractice.

A case of medical malpractice

Victims of surgical errors should understand their legal rights. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and any pain and suffering you've experienced as a result of a medical mistake. If you have had the misfortune of experiencing a surgical error, you may want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney in Indiana who may help you explore your legal options.

Keywords: surgical, error, medical, malpractice