Boston Medical Malpractice Attorneys

What Are the Most Common Types of Surgical Errors?

October 31, 2022 | Surgical Errors

We all know that surgery comes with risks. It’s necessarily an invasive procedure and occurs while patients are deeply unconscious, unaware, and essentially at the mercy of the surgeon and medical team. Patients naturally expect a reasonable standard of care while they’re on the surgical table and during their care immediately before and after surgery. Sadly, approximately 4,000 medical errors occur annually during surgeries in the United States.

Surgical mistakes and other medical errors can have devastating consequences including bodily mutilation, infection, sepsis, disability, and even death. Our team of Boston surgical error lawyers know that surgeons and medical facilities pay out over a billion dollars per year in medical malpractice claims related to surgical errors. Shockingly, many of these mistakes take place during common, routine surgeries performed on a frequent or regular basis rather than during rare, complex surgeries. 

Preventable Surgical Errors Are a Leading Cause of Death

As far back as 2016, studies revealed that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Surgical mistakes are among the most catastrophic errors a medical malpractice victim can suffer. Some common surgical errors include:

  • Wrong-site surgeries, such as the removal of the wrong kidney, limb, or lung
  • Wrong patient surgery which results in the removal of healthy organs and other devastating and permanent consequences
  • Performing the wrong procedure, resulting in the loss of healthy organs and tissue
  • Foreign objects left behind in surgical sites including gauze, sponges, pads, clamps, and even scalpels, which result in pain, infection, or sepsis
  • Anesthesia mistakes including dosage errors causing mid-surgery awakeness, monitoring failure, prolonged sedation, lack of oxygen, and even death
  • Accidental perforations and punctures which may cause negative effects like nerve damage, peritonitis, sepsis, and death

Making a mistake on the job is a critical matter of life and death for doctors, medical staff, and medical facilities. When doctors fail to live up to the expected standard of care it can leave a patient with serious injuries, life-long impairment, or cause death. Extensive checklists and other safety protocols exist in hospitals and clinics to prevent medical errors like surgical mistakes; however, despite the protocols and strict standards put in place by the medical field’s Joint Commission, surgical mistakes still occur in alarming numbers.

What Are Common Causes of Surgical Errors?

Studies show that the most common causes of surgical errors haven’t changed despite strict safety protocols. Some known causes include the following:

  • Communication gaps between medical staff, patients, and surgeons
  • Absence of regular protocols and procedures or failure to adhere to protocols and safety standards
  • Lack of adequate training for medical staff, or poor staffing
  • Over-booking or rushing to complete procedures
  • Human error and risk factors such as distraction by cellphones, belief that a surgeon’s orders aren’t to be questioned, and relying on memory rather than checking documents and records

These forms of medical negligence and other causes can lead to tragic surgical errors with permanent impacts on victims of this type of injury.

Boston Surgical Error Lawyers Can Represent Your Case

If a careless medical mistake before, during, or after surgery led to your injury or the injury or death of a loved one, you have a right to seek fair compensation for that injury. Compensation includes settlements or awards for medical expenses, lost wages, and financial damages for pain and suffering. In the most tragic cases, a wrongful death claim may apply to the family of a victim of surgical error. A Boston medical malpractice attorney experienced in Massachusetts medical malpractice law can evaluate your case, help you gather evidence, and work diligently on your behalf so you achieve the compensation, damages, and justice you deserve. Contact the law firm of Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates for a free consultation of your surgery error claim today.