Surgical errors occur more often than some may think

Surgical errors occur more frequently than once thought, and affect people’s lives in a multitude of ways.

Surgeons, physicians and nurses are some of the most trusted professions in the country. Millions of people rely on these medical professionals to diagnose and treat their conditions. In some cases, this means performing a surgical procedure to remedy an illness or extend a person's life. While many people in Iowa and across the country have had favorable results from a surgical procedure, there are a surprising number of people who have had surgical complications stemming from medical mistakes. Research from Johns Hopkins University found that there are more than 4,000 incidents of surgical errors every year in the U.S. This number, however, is thought to be misrepresented, as there are many errors that have not been discovered or go unreported.

Types of surgical errors

The study, published in Medical News Today, indicated that more than 40 times a week, surgical instruments are left inside patients who have undergone a procedure. The wrong surgery is performed on the wrong body part or even on the wrong patient at least 20 times a week. In total, there are 80 surgical mishaps every week. Although these surgical errors represent a small piece of the pie when compared to all of the surgeries that are performed each year in the U.S., they are still significant. These are people's lives that are forever changed or lost because of medical negligence.

According to a CNN News report, a young man died in the hospital because the nurse who was removing his chest tube did not use the correct technique. Not only was the boy sitting up when the nurse disconnected the tube, but she failed to make an airtight seal around the hole. Air bubbles formed in his blood, cut off his blood supply and caused him to pass away.

Preventing surgical errors

Hospitals and surgical centers in Iowa and in states across the country have developed protocol for minimizing surgical errors. For example, surgeons should verify patients' identity and mark their surgical site before taking them into the operating room. There should be time outs in the operating room allowing the staff time to account for all of the surgical instruments. New technology is being introduced into the OR that may help to save lives as well.

Teaming up with an attorney

If you are the unlucky recipient of a surgical or medical mistake, you may be left to suffer with the consequences. A medical malpractice attorney, however, may help you get compensation for your emotional trauma, medical expenses, lost wages from time taken off of work and even emotional trauma.