What are the Five Most Common Surgical Errors?

Going under the knife is terrifying. In these cases, we are sick, vulnerable and we rely on our doctors to cut us open, fix the problem and make us better. While you may think that surgical errors only occur with the more complex procedures, like brain surgery or cardiovascular surgeries, mistakes can actually occur with the simplest and most common operations.

For example, a perforated bowel can occur with everyday colonoscopy procedures. Surgeries to remove sinus pressures are not complex, but the muscles around the eyes can be cut, resulting in blindness. These medical errors can happen in an instant, but the results can be devastating. However, the most common surgical errors do not occur by perforating on organ or accidentally cutting a muscle. In fact, the five most common surgical errors include the following:

  1. Foreign objects left in a patient’s body—It is not uncommon for surgeons to leave pads, clamps, gauze or even scalpels in their patients before they close the incision. This can cause severe pain, infections and even death if untreated immediately.
  2. Operating on the wrong surgical site—When doctors are rushed to, as they say, “treat ‘em and street ‘em,” mistakes are made. Doctors can operate on the wrong body part entirely. This can happen with kidney transplants or even amputations.
  3. Wrong patient surgery—While it may be difficult to believe, doctors have and continue to operate on the wrong patient. Doctors and the resident surgical staff will both forget to do what is called a preoperative verification to make sure they are performing the correct procedure on the person who needs it—and it is happening right here in our state. A few months back, we blogged about how a Tennessee infant received an unnecessary surgery on his tongue simply because the doctor forgot to check the name of the infant.
  4. Nerve damage—This can happen with the wrong flick of the wrist or a hand tremor. Any slip of a scalpel can cause nerve. More often than not, these surgical errors result in a lifetime of pain or disability.
  5. Anesthesia errors—Errors in anesthesia dosage is the most frequent, but deadly surgical error. When an anesthesiologist administers too much of the drug, the patient does not receive enough oxygen to the brain, which can cause brain damage or death. Horrifyingly, patients can also wake up in the middle of a surgical operation and feel all of the pain without being able to move if not enough anesthesia is administered.

The Law Office of Stanley A. Davis fights for victims injured due to medical malpractice in the Nashville area. 

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4