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Causes of surgical errors

January 30th, 2015
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Surgical Errors on Friday, January 30, 2015.

Every year, in Louisiana and elsewhere in the United States, surgical errors take place which can lead to worsened injuries or other medical conditions. Surgery is an inherently risky process which is why, ordinarily, you will be informed beforehand of the potential risks and asked to sign a statement of informed consent.

Your signature on such a statement, however, does not mean that you accept the risk that the surgeon or someone else involved in the procedure will make a negligent mistake. The sad truth is, however, that mistakes can happen.

How can such errors take place? Although surgeries are not necessarily commonplace, they can still be subject to common sources of negligence, such as:

  • Poor planning and preparation: A surgeon does not simply decide on a whim to cut you open and start fiddling about. Surgeries are planned events that require considerable advance preparation. If the planning and preparation are inadequate, this can lead to a mistake.Â
  • Poor communication among the surgical team: Surgery is not something that the surgeon performs solo. He or she will have a team to work with including one or more nurses, an anesthesiologist and even another surgeon. Miscommunication among these people can easily lead to an error.
  • Fatigue and general neglect: Surgeons can earn considerable salaries, but the trade-off can be incredibly long working hours. A surgeon who is not well-rested is more likely to make a negligent mistake, such as using an improper or unsanitized instrument, leaving something behind inside of you, or taking unnecessary or even dangerous shortcuts. All of these can result in injuries to you.Â
  • Incompetent or even reckless behaviors: Although they are not common, there are surgeons who are simply unskilled. There are surgeons who are poorly trained. There are surgeons who are addicted to drugs. There are surgeons who have personal problems that distract them during the surgery. All of these can translate into negligent mistakes.Â

Most surgeons are highly trained and competent professionals, so most surgeries do not result in the patient being made worse off. Still, surgical errors are an unavoidable possibility, and if you have been the victim of such an error, a personal injury attorney experienced with medical malpractice cases can help you to recover compensation for the damages that you may suffer as a result.

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