Although we as patients like to think that our doctors and surgeons will take care of us and heal us, all too often preventable surgical errors take place on the operating table. In fact, according to a recent study of almost 1000 members of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), more than half of those surveyed reported observing surgical errors within the past six months of practice.
What were the most common reasons for surgical errors according to the AAOS study?
· Almost one out of three (29%) of the surgical errors reported by the 917 surgeons were related to equipment issues. In some cases, the instrumentation used during the operation was to blame, while in other cases an implant was to blame. Sixty-three percent of equipment errors involved surgical equipment while 32% involved a wrong implant, defective implant, or missing implant.
· Shockingly, 27 of the surgical error reports concerned “wrong surgery,” in which the doctor operated on the wrong side of the patient, at the wrong site of the patient, the wrong procedure on the patient, or even the wrong patient altogether. Six out of ten wrong surgery operations were on the wrong side of the patient.
· Wrong medication errors were reported in eight different instances – a mistake that had the most severe consequences. Two of these medication mistakes resulted in death, while two others were harmed permanently. Four other patients had life-threatening reactions to the wrong medication.
· One out of four surgical errors involved miscommunication between medical professionals. Almost half of these written or verbal communication errors resulted directly in harming the patient.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a surgical error in North Carolina (NC) or South Carolina (SC), contact a medical malpractice lawyer today.