No one should experience a medical error, but they do occur more than patients may realize. Often these errors are the result of miscommunication or physician negligence – and are easily avoided. Whether you are undergoing a simple outpatient procedure or major surgery, there are things you and your physician can do to avoid any conflict and serious medical errors.
Before a surgeon even takes on the case, they should ask themselves if they are the best qualified for such surgery. Even a general surgeon may feel more confident referring patients to a specialist rather than tackling the surgery themselves. Patients equally need to assess their surgeon or physician’s qualifications before consenting to a procedure. They should ask how many times that particular procedure has been completed by the surgeon, their success rate, etc.
A surgical team should know what will be done prior to ever entering the procedure or operating room. They should know what anatomy will come into play during the procedure and also the possibility of anatomic variants. They should obtain consent from their patient to include any potential backup surgical procedures that may need to be performed in an emergency situation. The goal is to ensure the patient is fully informed as to how the procedures will be done, what to expect, and if a complex procedure is possible when a simple procedure is not.
Most importantly, surgeons should evaluate patients for surgical candidacy long before scheduling the procedure. Biopsies, blood work and even cardiac analysis should be performed. The patient’s entire medical history must be considered as well – focusing on if a patient is even healthy enough to endure the physical stressors of that particular surgery. Surgeons should always expect the unexpected as well and be very thorough in potential outcomes based on their patient’s condition and medical history.
Physicians should also rely heavily on imaging technology as part of their preoperative practice. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) can reveal things for more accurate biopsies. Also, a radiologist may be able to perform a procedure that allows patients to forgo surgery. Surgeons should always consult with radiology colleagues before scheduling a patient for a surgical procedure.
When a patient will be using anesthesia during the procedure, they should not only be fully informed of the risks, but they must be fully supervised by the surgeon as well as the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist must be present for the entire procedure and never leave the operating room while the patient is still under anesthesia.
Most importantly, a surgeon should never overbook their schedule, and patients should make sure their surgeon is not squeezing their procedure into a tight schedule. Often surgical errors occur because the surgeon is too rushed to do the procedure correctly or even notice potential issues. Incorrect incisions can be made, nerves damaged and blood vessels transected accidentally when a surgeon is rushed.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation. Call us or contact us online to get started.