Surgical errors are not as uncommon as we would like to believe. According to a malpractice study by Johns Hopkins, it is estimated that 4,000 preventable surgical errors occur every year in the United States. Surgical errors can include, but are not limited to:
- Wrong site surgery
- Wrong procedure surgery
- Wrong patient surgery
- Prescription and/or medication errors
- Infections acquired as a result of the procedure
- Contamination of surgical tools or equipment
- Anesthesia errors
- Leaving surgical tools (e.g. sponges) in body
- Cuts, lacerations, or burns
- Violation of informed consent
- Negligent post-procedure care
- Unanticipated organ removal
In Illinois, medical malpractice claims can be filed against health care providers whose negligence results in injury, illness, or death. Although every surgery comes with a risk, health care providers who violate the established standard of care may be held liable for any injuries that they cause.
If you have been injured due to surgical negligence, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Staver Law Group are here to help. Call us today at .
Surgical Error Statistics
The medical community uses the term “never events” to describe wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient, and leaving foreign objects inside patients because there is universal agreement it indicates a lapse in safety protocol and these situations are entirely preventable. According to the John Hopkins study, 80,000 of these so-called never events occurred between 1990 and 2010.
In an attempt to address the occurrence of never events, the medical community developed a The Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, and Wrong Patient Surgery. The three key components include a pre-surgery verification process, marking the operative site, and taking a time out immediately before starting the procedure, which should be documented. Despite the protocol, these preventable events continue to occur.
In fact, it is estimated that surgeons leave a foreign object in a patient’s body 39 times a week, that the wrong procedure surgeries occur 20 times a week, and that wrong-site surgeries happen 20 times a week. These so-call never events can have devastating consequences on patients. Of the 80,000 surgical errors that occurred from 1990 to 2010, 6.6 percent resulted in death, 32 percent resulted in permanent injury, and 59 percent resulted in temporary injury.
Medication mistakes can happen before, during, or after surgery. These errors can include drug labeling errors, incorrect dosing, drug documentation mistakes, or failing to properly treat a patient post-surgery. A large-scale study of medication errors revealed that mistakes or adverse drug events took place in 124 of 277 drug administrations immediately before, during, or right after surgery.
Because the condition of patients can change quickly in an operating room, providers do not necessarily have time to double or triple-check medications. For this reason, there are fewer safety measures in place for medications administered in the surgical environment than in other hospital settings.
An important part of any surgery is the administration of anesthesia. Anesthesia errors can occur at any stage of the surgical process. Some of the most common anesthesia mistakes include:
- Failure to inquire about allergies, previous anesthetic reactions, drug use, or other lifestyle habits
- Delayed anesthesia delivery
- Dangerously prolonged sedation
- Failure to intubate or issues with intubation
- Failure to monitor consciousness, oxygenation, and/or vital signs
- Failure to recognize complications and react in a timely manner
- Administering too much or too little anesthesia
- Defective equipment
Contact an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney
Surgical errors often have serious consequences. As a patient, you rely on health care providers to provide a high standard of care. If your surgeon fails to exercise reasonable care and you are injured as a result, you may be able to receive compensation for your losses through a medical malpractice claim.
If you do, our team of experienced Chicago med mal attorneys can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with life. At Staver Law Group, we can fight for the compensation you deserve. We have extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims and we have helped our clients recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning potential, medical bills, future medical procedures required as a result of the injury, and other losses.
Call us today at to receive a free legal consultation.