Surgical Errors: More Common Than You Think


A recent case in Ohio brings to the forefront a hospital who is challenging the claims made by a patient’s family when the kidney of a family member of the patient was thrown out while waiting to be transplanted into the patient. The hospital is claiming there was no medical negligence, and that the kidney was thrown out because the nurse thought the kidney had already been replaced. Do you take this type of procedure for granted? What happens if you suspect a medical or surgical error may have occurred with you or someone you know, and how many medical errors are caught before it is too late?

A report from a recent study by Johns Hopkins University is frightening. The report says there are some instances that should never occur, when actually over 40,000 “fatal flaws” occur per year. Incidents such as leaving operating tools or sponges inside the bodies of the patient, operating on the wrong body part, performing the wrong surgery or, as stated above, tossing out a critical body part that should have been used in the surgery. While there are many steps the hospital can take to ensure that these errors never happen, there are reasons why they occur in the first place. Some of those reasons include overworked surgeons, tired or distracted surgeons, lack of attention in general, and the pressure to move people in and out through surgery without taking the time to ensure all the preparation procedures have being done.

What can you do to prevent a medical or surgical error from happening to you?

  • Provide all the correct information regarding your health at the time of the pre-op.
  • Fully list all medications you are taking.
  • Review the outline of the surgery with your surgeon: what will occur, where will the surgery occur, what body parts will be affected and what the recovery time is expected to be.
  • Ask who else will be present in the surgery room.

As patients, we have every right to investigate and inquire when it comes to our own health, particularly when it comes to surgery. Taking the steps to be diligent about your health could mean all the difference between a safe surgery and a botched one.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a medical or surgical error, you know how your life may be changed forever. The last thing you want to worry about is the legal process to come. A personal injury Manhattan law firm can help you settle your personal injury case and put your mind at ease.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.