Surgical malpractice/mistake cases are very complex, due in part to the complexity of the practice of medicine which includes: medical devices, medications, procedures, and diagnostic testing procedures, etc. If not deadly, surgical mistakes often lead to serious complications like infections. In surgical mistake lawsuits, hospitals and doctors may be held liable for causing injuries.
3 Common Types of Surgical Mistakes
1. Mistakes During Surgery
Surgeries are incredibly complex. From setting up an operating room to the actual performance of surgery, surgical errors can and do occur. Hospital staff may make an error in setting up the operation room. Electric materials and flammable materials are often involved, and the simplest mistake can lead to a fire. In the context of surgery, a fire can cause delay, which in turn, can lead to catastrophic results for the patient.
In addition, while it sounds like something out of a horror story, surgical materials can be left behind in a patient. There are two reasons surgical materials may be left behind: 1. there is a miscount going in/going out and 2. surgical materials are often mistaken for tissue/blood. Usually, surgical materials number in the 1000s. There may be a wrong count going in and going out, especially for complex surgeries lasting several hours.
Also, after several hours or even minutes, a surgical sponge can soak up enough blood to look like tissue. When surgical materials are not discovered in a timely manner, the patient is likely to develop an infection which can turn into sepsis, a major, full-body infection that often leads to death.
2. Tube Mix-Ups and Mistakes
Whether it’s a central line tube or a feeding tube, hospital staff can and do make mistakes in the selection of tubes, insertion of tubes, care/maintenance of tubes, and removal of tubes.
Central line tubes and feeding tubes can get confused, especially in emergency situations. Improper insertion can lead to air bubbles in blood, and an air embolism can occur. Poorly trained hospital staff may fail to adhere to proper central line tube removal procedure. For instance, a patient may be sitting up when a central line is removed. This can lead to an air embolism.
3. Blood Transfusion Errors
The vast majority of surgeries require blood transfusions. The truth is that blood transfusion errors are very common. Hospitals can make mistakes due to name mix-ups, bag mix-ups, etc. This results in the wrong blood bag being used. The body treats wrong blood as a foreign object and attacks it, creating blood clots. Blood cells can rupture and clot in major organs.
If you or a loved one have questions about a surgical mistake in Pennsylvania, please call our medical malpractice lawyers for a free case review. 800.220.7600