As patients, we are never more vulnerable than when we are undergoing surgery. On the operating table, we are unconscious, dependent on both machines and the skill of the doctors taking care of us to keep us alive.
Unfortunately, surgical errors are more prevalent than most Americans might think. In a study performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1,108 elective neurosurgeries were analyzed. Of those surgeries, 2,684 errors were found in 87.1% of the cases. 22.6% were major errors, and 78.5% were considered preventable.
Surgical errors can lead to a number of injuries, such as brain damage, loss of the use of a limb, or infection. They may even lead to death. Victims of surgical errors have the right to pursue compensation for their injuries, including for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of earning capacity.
The Long Island surgical error lawyers of Winkler Kurtz, LLP have decades of specialized experience handling medical malpractice cases. We will help you get the money that you deserve for your damages. Call us today at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about how we can help you.
Causes of Surgical Errors
During a surgery, any number of errors may occur that can lead to serious injuries or death. The NIH performed a study that analyzed surgical errors in medical malpractice cases. Of the cases studied, 65% involved a significant injury, while 23% involved death.
According to NIH research, most surgical errors do not happen during surgery, but before surgery (25%) and in post-operative care (35%). 62% of cases involved more than one medical professional making a mistake.
The two most frequent causes of surgical errors are (1) inexperience or lack of technical competence, and (2) communication breakdowns. However, numerous other factors may contribute to surgical errors, including:
- Poor decisions
This study shows that while a lack of skill or experience might be a factor in a surgical mistake, it is often negligence or carelessness that leads to these errors. When doctors feel rushed, are overly tired, or are otherwise inattentive, the patients may suffer.
Common Surgical Errors
Preventable surgical errors are referred to as “never events” because they should never happen. Despite this, preventable surgical errors are common in the United States.
A Johns Hopkins hospital study examined a set of closed malpractice cases from 1990 to 2010. In that time, approximately 10,000 “never events” happened. Based on this data, the researchers estimated that 4,082 preventable surgical errors happen in the United States each year. This works out to roughly 11 surgical errors every single day in the U.S.
Preventable surgical errors may include:
- Closing wounds with an instrument, sponge, towel, or other foreign object in the body;
- Contamination or infection;
- Injuring organs during surgery;
- Nerve damage;
- Damage to muscles, ligaments or tissue;
- Medication errors;
- Anesthesia overdose; or
- Wrong site, wrong procedure, wrong patient.
Even during a routine surgical procedure, there is a lot that can go wrong. That is why responsible surgical teams and hospitals take extensive precautions to prevent these kinds of surgical errors. If they fail to do so, a patient may be permanently injured, or even die.
Speak with a Long Island Surgical Errors Lawyer Today
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a surgical injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Like other types of New York medical malpractice cases, surgical error claims can be complex, and require the expertise of a seasoned Long Island surgical errors lawyer.
For more than 30 years, the attorneys of Winkler Kurtz, LLP have worked to help victims of negligence achieve justice. We will aggressively advocate for your right to a settlement or award if you have been a victim of a surgical error. Call us today at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled personal injury lawyers.