Complications commonly occur during surgery. But when you fall victim to such an occurrence, how do you know if it could have been avoided or why it even happened in the first place? Some surgical complications are unpredictable and unpreventable. However, others stem from negligence, carelessness, poor planning, or distracted medical professionals. When you enter an operating room, you have to trust a surgeon with your life. Unfortunately, for thousands of patients each year in New York, operations end in injury, disability, pain, emotional trauma, and sometimes death.
What are some of the most common medical mistakes made in the operating room?
- Anesthesia errors: Being “put under” with anesthesia can be the most dangerous aspect of an operation. The anesthesiologist can fail to take a proper medical history of the patient or neglect to properly inform of food, water, and alcohol restrictions before surgery. During the surgery, the anesthesiologist can administer the wrong amount of anesthetic, neglect to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or use defective medical devices.
- Damage resulting from poor surgical technique: If a surgeon uses tools carelessly, the results can be disastrous. A slip of the scalpel, laser, or other surgical instrument can result in punctured organs, perforated membranes, severed nerves, internal bleeding, or infection. In some cases, a negligent surgeon can leave behind tools or debris in the patient, perform the wrong surgery, or even perform the surgery on the wrong part of the body.
- Medication errors: According to a recent study, patients undergoing surgery are three times more likely to be harmed by medication error than others in the healthcare system. Before, during, and directly after surgery, many patients need a number of drugs, including sedatives, antibiotics, and blood thinners. Healthcare professionals commonly administer the wrong dosage of medication, the wrong medication, or the medication at the wrong time. These mistakes can lead to overdoses, complications, and even death.
- Failure to react to complications properly: When a complication arises, the surgeon should react reasonably thanks to training and experience. However, if a healthcare professional fails to identify the issue, react in a timely manner, or properly combat the problem, then the affected individual can file a medical malpractice case. Surgeons learn how to deal with complications such as hemorrhaging and organ failure in their years of schooling, so you should not accept any failure of reaction.
- Unnecessary surgery: Healthcare professionals often pressure patients into undergoing dangerous procedures that prove unnecessary. In fact, a research team recently revealed that up to 20 percent of pacemaker surgeries could have been avoided. Some of these unnecessary surgeries, such as coronary bypasses and hysterectomies, take place after doctors misinterpret symptoms or misread tests. Others take place simply because doctors want to make money. Either way, unnecessary surgery comes with a number of costs, including medical bills, pain, and possible complications.
A successful, complication-free surgery takes a toll on the individual. Compare that experience with a botched surgery and you have an extremely difficult, overwhelming, painful, and emotional ordeal. While doctors often display competence and skill, sometimes things go wrong. If your life has been changed by a medical mistake or surgical error while in a New York operating room, then you need to talk to someone who can help.
The seasoned medical malpractice lawyers of Siegel & Coonerty can help you better understand why your surgery went wrong and whether or not you deserve compensation. Call us today to schedule a free, private meeting.