Unfortunately, there are pitfalls with routine and major surgery, and no surgeon is free from the risk of errors. While not all errors are considered negligent, the majority that are could easily be prevented.
According to an article published in 2012 by WebMD, more than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur during surgeries each year and cost more than $1.3 billion in malpractice payouts. The most common type of surgical error is a “never event,” named as such because these are the types of surgical errors that should never happen. This can include performing the wrong surgical procedure or leaving a surgical supply inside the patient post-surgery.
While the study estimates 4,000 errors per year, it also states that they feel this number is grossly underestimated, and that thousands more of these errors go unreported each year. This is because hospitals are only required by law to report never events if there is a settlement or judgment.
How Patients Can Protect Themselves
While a patient can only do so much, there may be things they can do to prevent the likelihood they become a victim of surgical errors. These things include:
- Receiving a second opinion before agreeing to surgery. Some surgeons are unfamiliar with non-invasive alternatives; therefore, the recommended surgery may not be your only option. With a second opinion, you can possibly avoid surgery altogether.
- Research the surgeon performing the surgery and inquire about any residents or interns that may be present. Patients can do their due diligence and research their surgeon, but it’s also important to ask specifically about others that will assist. In the case of the Connecticut woman, she was not told about a resident, but she also did not ask.
- Know the risks before you consent to surgery. All surgical procedures carry some risk, and by understanding any potential risks, you can be better prepared.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC – Your Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Surgical errors carry devastating financial and physical results – and in some cases, may even be fatal. If you are the victim of a surgical error, contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC online or call 866-479-7909 to request a consultation.