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Surgical errors among the most common reasons for lawsuits

When Texans need medical care, they expect physicians and staff to provide it without making errors. Unfortunately, mistakes that cause harm to patients can happen. These errors often spark medical malpractice legal claims. Surgical errors are a common reason for filing these lawsuits.

According to a recent report by Coverys, surgical mistakes are the second most frequent reason for medical malpractice claims. The statistics of lawsuits filed through Coverys, a medical liability insurer, from 2014 to 2018 were analyzed. One-quarter of the claims were due to surgical errors. This category fell behind only diagnostic errors, which came in at 32%. There were nearly 2,600 claims due to mistakes in surgery. Of those, 78% were filed because of a mistake on the part of the practitioner during surgery.

From the medical decisions that are made to the aftercare process, every part of a surgical procedure can involve errors that result in a lawsuit. Of the cases that were scrutinized, 29% of the injuries patients suffered were categorized as permanent and significant while 9% led to death. Surgeons' absence of technical skill was referenced in 39%. A failure in communication or judgment was an issue in 27%. Around half the claims were in one of three specialties -- general surgery at 22%, orthopedic surgery at 17% and neurosurgery at 8%.

Doctors were accused of surgical equipment left inside a patient, performing unnecessary surgery, operating on the wrong side of the patient's body and surgical delays. While the researchers provided various recommendations for avoiding these errors, the number of mistakes is worrisome for anyone who needs a surgical procedure. The victim of a surgical mistake may want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. With help from an attorney, the victim could obtain compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages.

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