Different types of surgical errors and how they occur

January 27, 2021 | Crandall & Pera Law
Different types of surgical errors and how they occur

Although the U.S. healthcare industry has some of the world's highest standards, surgical errors still occur in Ohio and throughout the country. Whether you go under the knife for a life-saving emergency procedure or an elective cosmetic surgery, you can't completely rule out the risk of surgical errors.

Wrong-side surgeries

Wrong-side surgeries only involve organs and tissues that exist on both sides of your body. These fall under the broader category of wrong-site surgeries.

Wrong-site surgeries

One study found that, of all types of wrong-site surgeries performed by orthopedic surgeons, 59% took the form of wrong-side surgeries. Wrong-site surgeries consist of surgeries performed on the correct side, just at the wrong location. These typically occur with overworked surgeons and hospitals with lengthy chains of custody. In hospitals or medical practices with long chains of custody, for example, a surgical patient's file could pass through a half-dozen hands before ultimately arriving in the operating room. Three of the best ways to avoid wrong-site surgeries include shortening the chain of custody, reducing understaffing and exercising caution before commencing surgical procedures.

Retained surgical instruments

In general, some of the most common surgical errors include wrong-site surgeries, infections and unnecessary surgeries. Although this doesn't happen often, more than 1,000 cases of retained surgical instruments happen in the United States every year. In simple terms, retained surgical instruments refers to when surgeons leave behind sponges, towels, pins, clamps and needles inside patients. Nobody wants to find themselves caught up in the aftermath of a surgical error. Consulting an attorney is a precautionary post-surgery measure that every victim of medical malpractice should consider.