Surgical procedures come with risks, but medical professionals and facilities can avoid many of preventable problems that harm victims when they exercise reasonable care and take protective measures. Unfortunately, Indiana residents suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening harm when their nurses, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals fail to meet their standard of care and commit surgical mistakes. There are many ways that surgical mistakes happen, but often an error committed during surgery falls into one of three general categories.
Wrong patient surgeries
A wrong patient surgery happens when a surgeon performs a procedure on a patient who requires an operation but does not perform the correct procedure for their needs. Wrong patient surgeries can happen when a surgeon must perform multiple surgeries in a single day and does not confirm which procedure each of their patients is scheduled to receive.
Wrong site surgeries
Wrong site surgeries are an issue when a patient must receive an operation on one side or part of their body, but their surgeon performs the operation on the other side. For example, if a patient required surgery on their left shoulder but their surgeon performed the operation on their right side, the patient would be a victim of a wrong site surgery.
Wrong procedure surgeries
The third category of surgical errors that can impact patients is wrong procedure surgeries. A wrong procedure surgery is just what it sounds like – a patient does not receive the right operation. An example may be a breast cancer patient planning to undergo a lumpectomy to remove their disease who is subjected to a mastectomy when their surgeon commits a wrong procedure error.
Surgical mistakes are serious. They subject victims to surgical preparations and anesthesia, both of which may come with their own risks. They inflict injuries on patients because unneeded surgical procedures require recovery time. They introduce risks of surgical infections and other mistakes that can develop during post-surgical care.
A victim of a preventable surgical mistake has a lot to lose. They can suffer significant personal pain and suffering, loss of function, loss of time and money from recovering from and undergoing subsequent procedures to fix their surgical errors, and other serious damages. A surgical mistake can leave a victim in a worsened medical state than before their procedure and can impact how they are able to perform their job and interact with their loved ones.
Individuals who have suffered surgical mistakes often have rights to seek their damages and recover what has been taken from them. Personal injury and medical malpractice laws exist to ensure that when medical providers commit errors, victims have options for becoming whole.