The days before an invasive surgery are stressful – even for the most confident patients. Although most operations do not lead to complications, surgical errors are far more common than many people realize. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, these mistakes happen at least 4,000 times each year in the United States.
A surgical error can worsen a health condition or cause an entirely new issue. Sometimes they are fatal.
There is a myriad of reasons why these mistakes happen. Common examples include:
Poor surgical planning;
A lack of communication among hospital staff;
And drug or alcohol use.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a surgical error in Louisiana, contact The Bowling Law Firm. As a New Orleans medical malpractice attorney, David A. Bowling can evaluate your case to determine if you have grounds for a claim. You may be entitled to health-care costs, lost income and other damages related to the incident.
Here are four common reasons for surgical errors:
1. Poor Surgical Planning
There are several steps that surgeons and other staff should take before an operation to reduce the likelihood of complications. They should review common issues that arise from the particular surgery. Also, the surgeon, assistants and nurses should make sure they have access to all of the necessary equipment. Not taking these steps could cause a fatal misstep during the procedure.
2. Lack of Communication among Hospital Staff
Hospitals are busy facilities that must treat a range of medical ailments on a moment’s notice. Although there are comprehensive systems in place to ensure all nurses, doctors and other staff can communicate seamlessly, a small oversight can cause these systems to fail.
A lack of communication can cause a multitude of problems. Surgeons may operate on the wrong patient, the wrong body part or the wrong side of the body. Other times, patients receive the wrong dosages of medication. All of these errors can have severe and potentially fatal consequences.
Few jobs can match the stressful, long hours that surgeons work. The shifts can take their toll, and fatigue can cause a surgeon to make a careless mistake that has drastic consequences for the patient.
4. Drug or Alcohol Use
Although it seems unthinkable that a surgeon would use drugs or alcohol before an operation, it does happen. Some doctors use drugs or alcohol to cope with the stressors of their jobs. If a surgeon is under the influence during an operation, then there is a high risk of a medical error.
A surgical mistake can have permanent consequences for patients. Nerve damage, the loss of healthy organs, amputation of limbs and other errors can diminish a person’s quality of life.
If you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, contact The Bowling Law Firm. Mr. Bowling is a wrongful death lawyer in New Orleans who can help you navigate the claims process. Schedule a consultation today by calling (504) 586-5200.