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Common surgical errors and why they occur

Surgery is a serious procedure. Whether you are getting gastric bypass surgery or getting your appendix remixed, it is a big deal. Everyone gets a little nervous about surgery, but most people have confidence in surgeons to get the job done safely. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong. According to a study released by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, there are at least 4,000 surgical errors per year.

If a surgeon makes a serious error that harms you, you might be a victim of medical malpractice. Keep reading to learn about common surgical errors and why they occur.

Common surgical errors

There are numerous potential things that can go wrong during surgery, but the most common include:

  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part
  • Using unsanitary surgical instruments during the procedure, causing infection
  • Damaging a nerve during the operation
  • Administering the wrong amount of anesthesia
  • Leaving surgical equipment inside the body
  • Puncturing an internal organ with a scalpel or scissors

In extremely rare circumstances, surgeons may even perform a procedure on the wrong patient.

Causes of surgical errors

Surgical errors can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a surgeon simply lacks experience with the procedure. There may also be miscommunication between various parties, including the surgeon, patient and anesthesiologist. Miscommunication can result in improper medication dosage or failure to ensure all surgical instruments are on hand.

Surgeons also work long shifts, and this can cause fatigue, resulting in a lack of focus. Sometimes surgeons might even use drugs or alcohol to cope with stress or help them through long hours. Any of these situations is likely to result in a mistake.

Proving medical malpractice

Sometimes surgical errors do not amount to medical malpractice. In order to pursue a medical malpractice claim, you must be able to show that the surgeon did not exercise due care and diligence and that you suffered harm from the mistake.

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