What is on a surgical checklist?

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new york surgical nurse with surgical checklist

When a person consents to have a surgery performed, they do so because it will likely fix a problem or issues they are experiencing. While every surgery carries risks, people generally don’t expect that they will experience a new complication, illness, serious injury, or even death from the surgery. Although some complications are unavoidable risks of surgery, others can be avoided if the surgeons and more careful.

If you have been injured due to a surgical error or another form of medical malpractice, the skilled surgical error attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island are ready to fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. By calling 855-TOP-FIRM, you can set up a free and confidential consultation during which we will discuss your legal options.

Studies have shown that hospitals requiring the use of surgical safety checklists have better outcomes than those who do not. A surgical checklist prevents monotony and routine from setting in and allowing mistakes. The World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist was devised after lengthy consultation aiming to reduce errors and increase teamwork and communication during surgery. This 19-item checklist has shown a marked reduction in both morbidity and mortality and is now used by many surgical providers around the world.

What did the WHO recommend in regard to surgeries?

The WHO checklist contains sections – a checklist for completion before anesthetics, one for before the first incision, and one for after the patient leaves the operating room. For instance, prior to the surgery, the health care professional should confirm the patient’s information and allergies. Before the incision, they should again confirm the procedure and team members in the room. One recommendation calls for everyone on the surgical team to identify themselves and ask questions such as, “Does everyone agree that this is Patient X undergoing an appendectomy?”

Some of the other WHO guidelines include marking the correct site for surgery to avoid operating on the incorrect patient or performing the incorrect surgery and giving an antibiotic within an hour of making an incision to reduce infections. After the procedure, the nurse should take specimens, label them, and do counts of surgical equipment. Surgeons should then discuss concerns about the patient’s recovery. Following the surgical list should drastically reduce the rate of surgical complications. The list should improve anesthetic safety practices, prevent infections, and better communication among health care professionals involved with the surgery.

What do surgical checklists entail?

Surgical checklists may include the following:

  • Confirmation of patient’s identity
  • Verification of the surgical site
  • List of patient’s allergies and medications being used
  • Identification of any blood or other bodily fluids in the operating room
  • List of all item in the operating room, such as needles, gauze, and scalpels

What are some common types of surgical errors?

Each year, patients in New York and throughout the country bring thousands of medical malpractice claims against doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for surgical errors. Medical malpractice during surgery can cause serious injuries, including brain damage, nerve damage, stroke, heart attack, internal organ damage, and infections.

Patients may file claims for medical malpractice against a surgeon, nurse, hospital, or clinic for a variety of types of negligence, including:

  • Lack of informed consent
  • Incorrect amount of anesthesia
  • Leaving surgical instruments in the patient’s body
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Wrong surgery site
  • Wrong surgery
  • Miscommunication
  • Puncturing or severing a nerve or artery
  • Damaging healthy organs
  • Failing to monitor the patient for issues like infection and internal bleeding
  • Failing to fix complications during surgery

If a surgeon or was negligent, and this negligence caused the patient’s injuries, the surgeon could be guilty of medical malpractice. The injured party may then be able to argue that with proper care, their injuries would not have happened, giving them the right to recover compensation.

How do you prove medical malpractice?

Not all adverse results during or following surgery are considered surgical errors. Surgeons cannot guarantee a specific outcome from surgery. As part of a surgeon’s duty of care, the surgeon must explain the risks associated with the surgical procedure. They should explain why surgery is the best option for you, given the facts in your case. Failing to provide all necessary information for you to make an informed decision about the surgery could be deemed medical malpractice.

The challenge for those injured by a surgical error is proving negligence on the part of the surgeon. Evidence must be introduced. Evidence can come in many forms, including medical records, expert opinion, and eyewitness testimony.

To prove medical malpractice, a patient must show that the surgeon;

  • Owed a duty of care to the patient
  • Breached that duty of care
  • The breach of the duty of care caused their injury

Breach of the duty of care means that the medical treatment provided fell below the acceptable standard of care. A patient must also show the specific injury or harm caused by the hospital or surgeon’s breach of the duty of care.

Contact a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer

At Finz & Finz, P.C., our highly skilled New York surgical error lawyers have extensive experience handling medical malpractice claims. If you were injured from surgery, you might be eligible for financial compensation. Allow us to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve and deserve as we hold the surgeons accountable for their negligence.

Many New Yorkers who believe they have been victims of surgical error don’t know what to do. The first step you should take is to consult with an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to determine if you have a viable case. Call Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island today at 855-TOP-FIRM to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.