The underreporting of surgical errors and harm to patients

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2020 | Firm News

When you go to the hospital, you will likely see posters touting the safety precautions the facility puts in place, but none highlighting medical mistakes. 

If you are about to undergo surgery, you must depend on the skill of your surgeon and trust that you will not become a victim of surgical error. 

Medical mistakes research

When you think of medical mistakes, your first thought might be prescription drug problems where a doctor might prescribe the wrong medication, or a nurse might give you the prescription meant for another patient. However, surgeons can make mistakes as well. Research indicates that deaths from medical error in all its forms might cause as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the U.S. 

Possible surgical errors

If a surgeon fails to provide the expected standard of care, a claim of medical malpractice may result. Negligence on the part of your surgeon might include: 

  • Performing the wrong surgical procedure 
  • Performing surgery on the wrong part of your body] 
  • Puncturing an internal organ 
  • Making an anesthesia error 
  • Leaving surgical implements inside your body 

No national statistics

Medical errors, including those that occur in the operating room, are underreported. For example, in using billing codes to collect information on patient deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not include information about medical errors. Of course, if you become the victim of a surgical mistake, national statistics may not interest you. You may only wish to consider a medical malpractice case against the surgeon who left a sponge where it does not belong.