In a previous blog post, we discussed the woman who was an advocate for women stricken with cancer because of power morcellators. She recently died, and her death brought the serious issue back to light. It also casts light back on the horror of surgical errors that some patients face.
In 2013, Dr. Amy Reed had her uterus removed because of fibroids. Unbeknownst to her, the surgeon used a power morcellator for the procedure. Only after she was stricken with upstaged uterine leiomyosarcoma did she find out that the surgical tool was used in her case.
The powers that be in Washington are looking at revamping the medical malpractice tort system. Some elected officials seem to think that there is a crisis involving medical malpractice claims; however, experts say this isn't the case. These experts note that even if you take out the inflation rate adjustments, doctors today are paying less for malpractice insurance than what they were paying in 2001.
In our previous blog post, we discussed how patient identification errors can largely be prevented. In fact, one theory we noted in that post claimed that all patient identification errors might be preventable. Those types of errors are only one small facet of the errors that can occur in surgery.
One of the issues that can lead to surgical errors and other medical errors is patient identification. The Emergency Care Research Institute conducted a study that found that most errors having to do with patient identification are preventable. In fact, the results of the study show that it might be possible to prevent all patient identification errors.
Surgeons must be trusted by their patients. These medical professionals work on patients who are under anesthesia. Even in the simplest of surgical procedures, the patient is still facing very serious life risks. These risks can include death and long-lasting effects if the patient survives. This is why surgical errors are a type of medical malpractice that are especially troubling. A patient goes into surgery thinking that a problem is being fixed, when in reality, a new problem is being created. We know that you might find that very difficult to deal with.
It might shock you to learn that approximately one out of every two surgeries involves some sort of adverse event or error. That is what a study done by Harvard University found when they studied more than 275 operations at one of the famed university's affiliate hospitals. The study did note that not all of the errors or adverse events led to significant patient harm. Still, the fact that so many surgeries had errors means that anyone having surgery should be aware of possible issues.
Surgeons use a host of equipment and supplies when they are doing a surgical procedure. It is crucial that they remove all of these tools and supplies from the patient before they close the incision when the surgery is done. Items that are left behind in the patient pose a serious medical risk for the patient. In some cases, these items, such as surgical sponges, can lead to infections as the body tries to fight off the foreign body.
Hospitals call wrong-site surgery a never event. Though the name suggests it shouldn't happen at all, the reality is quite different: There are about 40 never events every week in the United States. So, why do these things happen? Though they can have many causes, a few of the most common ones are listed below.
Any surgical procedure comes with some amount of risk, whether it is routine or highly complex. Despite all the medical and technical advancements that have been made, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that an operation will be a success.