What to look for when surgical errors occur

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Trust is a tricky thing. In your personal life, you may choose the people you let into your life carefully and only give your trust to people who earn it. Even so, when it comes to a surgeon who will be opening up your body, you may be like other Texas residents and give that trust a bit too easily.
In most cases, a successful surgical procedure that accomplishes your health care goals will reward your trust. However, when the trust is broken due to some error on the part of the surgeon, the anesthesiologist or a member of the surgical team, you may find yourself wondering what went wrong.
Here’s what the research says
A multitude of research found certain commonalities regarding what causes surgical errors. If you were to review even a portion of it, you may find that surgical errors tend to occur due to the following issues:

  • Crucial patient information may not flow correctly. If your surgeon doesn’t have all of the information, or the right information, he or she won’t be able to provide you with the appropriate standard of care.
  • A breakdown in communication between doctors, nurses and other medical staff could ultimately lead to a mistake. Moreover, a lack of communication with you may lead to the same result.
  • Misidentification, failure to properly educate you, failure to properly assess you and failure to obtain your consent could cause you unnecessary harm.
  • It’s possible that your surgeon lacks the appropriate skill level to perform your procedure successfully.
  • Failing to follow established policies and procedures could put you in harm’s way.
  • Policies and procedures may inadequately protect you.
  • Technology is only as good as those using, manufacturing and maintaining it. A medical device or piece of surgical equipment may fail to do its job.
  • Not having enough staff on hand to handle the workload may cause dangerous oversights in your care.

When your surgeon outlined the risks involved in your surgical procedure, he or she probably failed to mention those above. If you suspect that you suffered harm for which you needed additional treatment, and possibly additional surgery, it may have been due to a surgical error. It may be worthwhile to seek out a thorough evaluation of your situation to determine whether you have cause to consider pursuing compensation for your injuries through a medical malpractice claim.