There are so many details that affect how successful a surgical operation is for a patient. Mistakes with anesthesia, for example, could result in a severe reaction that delays the procedure or causes a death. Corner-cutting might mean that someone winds up with a severe infection that drastically increases their recovery time when it comes to sterilization.
It is also possible for the surgeon or a support staff member to make a catastrophic error during the procedure. One of the most well-known surgical mistakes involves a surgeon leaving something behind in someone’s body. Does that ever happen in modern medical settings?
Hundreds of patients come out of surgery with something left inside
Typically, surgeons and the staff helping them perform operations have to account for every clamp, scalpel and piece of gauze that they use. Unfortunately, medical professionals still lose track of items during surgery. They only realize, after finishing the procedure and closing the patient back up, that there is something still inside the patient’s body.
Experts estimate that about 1,500 operations in the United States every year result in foreign objects getting left behind inside the patients’ bodies after the procedures. Out of more than 28 million surgeries, that’s a relatively low number. However, the acceptable number of times for such an event to occur in a hospital setting is zero. That’s why many people refer to such events as never events because they should not happen with proper care.
Many times, the items left behind are small, like gauze or cotton. However, even those objects could cause severe infections. It can be even more dangerous for a surgeon to leave behind a metal tool, which may cause physical trauma in addition to creating a risk of infection.
Learning about the different kinds of medical malpractice that could hurt you can help you fight back when doctors make completely preventable mistakes while providing care for you.