Surgical errors must be prevented before they cause harm

| May 2, 2018 | blog

Putting your life in the hands of a surgeon can be nerve-wracking. You have to trust that the surgeon is going to do what is best for you while you are under anesthesia. There are several things that can go wrong after the anesthesiologist puts you under.

If you are facing surgery or have recently recovered from a surgical procedure, knowing some of the common surgical errors and how they might be prevented may be beneficial. Here are some important points to know:

Incorrect surgical actions

Some surgical errors are the result of the surgeon doing a procedure on the wrong person or on the wrong site on the patients’ bodies. It is also possible that the surgeon will perform the incorrect procedure on a patient. The easiest way to prevent these errors from occurring is by checking the information multiple times. Patient verification can help surgeons avoid doing procedures on the wrong person. Some surgeons have started having the patient initial the surgical site if they can reach it. Having a second or even third person verify the surgical site can also help. Before a patient is put under anesthesia, the surgeon can ask the patient or a caregiver what procedure is expected to be performed.

Retained surgical instruments

Surgical instruments and supplies must be accounted for in the operating room. These items are sometimes left in patients, which puts them at risk of infection and other complications. The surgeon and other medical personnel who are present in the room must closely count the number of each item they use. This goes for everything from sponges to scalpels. Before the patient’s incision is closed, everything should be accounted for.

Surgical recovery

In the hours after surgery, patients go through recovery. This process must include ensuring that you are recovering properly from the anesthesia. It must also involve instructing patients how to properly care for the surgical site. Infection at the incision is a big risk after the surgery. You should be monitored for signs of an infection and told what to watch for when you are home so that you can get medical follow-up care if necessary.

After-effects of surgical errors

These situations are troublesome because they can lead to lengthy recoveries and possibly more invasive procedures in the future to correct problems caused by the surgeon’s errors. This can result in increased costs of care, as well as time off of work. This is why patients will sometimes seek compensation for surgical errors.