Having to undergo surgery can be a scary time, regardless of how routine the surgery may be. There is an inherent trust that must be given to the surgeon and their team to use their skills, training and knowledge to the best of their ability. While any surgery can have risks, if the proper procedures and techniques are used it can eliminate room for errors to occur that can injury the patient unduly. However, surgical errors and mistakes happen every day that injure patients that could have been prevented by adhering to these measures.
How Do Surgical “Never Events” Occur?
The U.S. The National Quality Forum coined the term “never events” to refer to medical issues that are preventable and should never occur. There are 29 total events and several fall under surgical procedures. Since these are considered to all be preventable, when they do happen, there is a high chance that a medical malpractice lawsuit will follow.
- Wrong patient surgeries. Mistakes made in entering information and identification can cause a patient to get a surgery that was scheduled for another person
- Wrong surgery. Once again, data entry and not following pre-operative procedures can result in the patient getting the wrong surgery.
- Wrong body part. Urban legend in this case is true. Patients have had the wrong body part subjected to surgery and even had them mistakenly removed or amputated.
- Anesthesia death. Deaths to otherwise healthy patients under anesthesia or due to anesthesia are considered preventable and are listed as a never event.
- Foreign objects inside body. The most common surgical never event is foreign objects left inside a surgical incision, such as sponges, gauze and surgical instruments.
A study done on surgical never events at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at 9,744 medical malpractice lawsuits for never events. Between 1990-2010, $1.3 billion was paid for these lawsuits. 6.6% of the cases involved fatalities, 32.9% had permanent injuries and 59.2% had temporary injuries. The study estimated that over 4,000 of these types of medical malpractice cases are filed every year.
Surgical Errors Versus Unsuccessful Surgery
There are surgeries that end poorly and even tragically due to no fault of the medical team or hospital. It is important to understand that surgeries do have risks and even a routine surgery can result in a patient having an adverse reaction or even dying. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys knows the distinct difference between a poor outcome or unsuccessful surgery and a surgical error and we help our client’s determine which has occurred.
To discover why a surgery ended poorly or resulted in death or injury, we will look at the medical records and ask the advise of trusted medical experts that we retain. Beyond never events that are easily determinable as surgical errors, other issues that may point to the possibility of a surgical error can be:
- Severe infections
- Incisions or cuts on organs or body parts that were not part of the surgery
- Fractures that are unexplained
- Burns that are unexplained
Trust Us To Get To The Bottom Of Your Surgical Injury
If you or a loved one had surgery and there was an injury or even death that you believe was caused by an error, let us help you get to the bottom of what went wrong. Even if the medical facility has assured you that whatever happened was routine, there may be more then they are telling you. Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our clients, in many cases due to surgical errors. We offer a free consultation and we will not charge you for our services unless we are able to obtain financial compensation for your injury or loss.