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What are the most common causes of surgical errors?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

Surgeons have a high duty of care to patients, as their procedures affect a person’s long-term well-being. Though working as a surgeon is a noble profession, not every physician takes sufficient care or performs duties with the necessary diligence.

Patients can generally trust their medical teams, but a person can still be aware of conditions that make a surgical mistake more likely.

Reasons surgical errors happen

Overconfidence is usually the root cause leading to a mistake. A physician should be calm and optimistic but also realistic and careful. The following situations could lead to an error:

  • Fatigue: A doctor should have sufficient rest to maintain concentration, but surgeons and their staff often work long hours, leading to fatigue.
  • Insufficient staff: A nurse pulling double duty could misunderstand directions or forget to check on a patient.
  • Poor communication: The medical team should follow standard practices for communicating to avoid missing a vital piece of information.
  • Substance abuse: Physicians should not operate on a patient while under the influence of a controlled substance that is not an authorized prescription.

To prove a malpractice case from such causes of a medical error, a patient must demonstrate that the surgeon’s mistake was unreasonable and avoidable.

Common surgical mistakes

The potential for a misstep is high during a surgical procedure. For example, anesthesiologists must know a patient’s allergies to prevent a reaction. An improper dosage could also be mentally or physically damaging.

Some doctors have performed unnecessary surgeries. Other mistakes might include operating on the incorrect body part, causing an infection or leaving a foreign object in the patient.

Health issues are distressing enough. No one wants to deal with the aftermath of a surgical error. Selecting a responsible surgeon and staying attentive to one’s treatment can minimize the odds of a mistake.

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