When your doctor tells you that you need surgery, it’s understandable to feel a bit worried or stressed. After all, there’s always a risk involved with any surgical procedure. On the other hand, you can reasonably expect a licensed surgeon to adhere to protocol and accepted safety standards to keep you out of harm’s way. Your surgeon is also supposed to discuss your case with you ahead of time to explain the procedure and to give you the opportunity to ask questions.
Never events are surgical errors that should never happen but do. They should never happen because there are systems in place to help prevent them. If your medical team fails to adhere to regulations or otherwise acts with negligence, you might fall victim to a never event and wind up suffering illness or injury that you didn’t have when you entered the hospital.
Three of the most common surgical errors
Whether you’re having elective surgery or are in an emergency situation, the doctors, nurses, technicians, surgeons and other medical team members know what they are supposed to do to help you. The following list explains three types of surgical errors that should never occur in a Texas hospital, or anywhere, but often do:
- Wrong patient surgeries: By the time someone wheels you to the operating room, a nurse, as well as several other medical team members, have likely checked your identifying information to confirm that you are the correct patient for the surgery that is about to occur. One of the most common types of never events that occurs in this state and others, however, is wrong-patient surgery.
- Incorrect procedures: It’s not enough for your medical team to make sure you’re the right patient as they must also confirm that the pending procedure is the correct surgery. Many patients have been devastated to awaken from anesthesia only to learn that their surgeons performed the wrong procedures.
- Right surgery, wrong body part: If you’re in the hospital because you having your left knee replaced, you shouldn’t have to fear that the surgeon will perform a right knee replacement by mistake. However, wrong-site surgery is one of the most common types of medical errors that occur in operating rooms across the country.
There are numerous reasons such horrific surgical errors occur. Lack of communication between medical team members is typically at the top of the list. There are also surgical checklists that are designed to keep you, the patient, safe. If a medical team member disregards those checklists, you might wind up in worse condition after surgery than you were to start.
What happens if a surgical error occurs?
You cannot undo certain medical mistakes. However, you also do not have to overlook blatant negligence on the part of a surgeon, nurse, lab technician or other medical worker. It’s helpful in such situations to speak with a patient advocate, who can provide support and guidance as to what options are available to you to seek justice.