Surgical errors are a type of medical error and are a leading cause of death for patients in the United States. This substantial threat to patient safety constitutes a severe public health problem.
Sometimes surgical mistakes occur when a doctor does something incorrectly in the operating room. This type of error is an “active error,” which can present itself in multiple ways.
1. Surgery on the wrong patient or body part
Medical professionals may misdiagnose or miscommunicate which can result in their patients having an unnecessary procedure performed on their bodies. If a doctor misdiagnoses their patient, the person will receive an incorrect treatment on the wrong body part. The patient does not suffer from the health issues that require that particular surgery.
Undergoing an incorrect surgery leaves lasting psychological and physical effects.
2. Leaving an item in the patient
A nurse or surgeon may leave clamps, scissors, gauze, pins, sponges or other items inside their patient. If surgical items remain inside the patient after the operation, they will suffer long-term health issues from those foreign objects in their body.
3. Nerve damage
During the surgery, the surgeon may cut, stretch or apply pressure to nerves in the patient’s body. This can cause severe and lasting nerve damage. The patient may experience adverse effects depending on the location of the injured nerve. Symptoms may include chronic pain throughout the body, numbness in the injured body part or a burning sensation in the affected area.
These surgical errors should not occur, but those affected can explore potential medical malpractice options if they do.