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Do major surgical mistakes still happen in the United States?

| Apr 29, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Anytime you see a doctor, you place a lot of trust in their expertise, but surgery requires absolute faith in the professional caring for you. They will likely render you unconscious or at least administer localized anesthesia. They will cut your body, a process that could result in severe injuries if not done properly.

The vast majority of surgeries take place without any complications. Often, when issues do arise, they are unpredictable and medical in nature. However, there are dozens of people across the country every year who suffer significantly because of mistakes made by medical professionals during a surgery. How frequently do such mistakes occur in modern medical settings?

Despite improved technology, surgical mistakes happen frequently

There are reporting requirements for when medical professionals make significant errors in their practice of medicine. Surgeons who operate on the wrong side of the body, who leave foreign objects in their patients or who perform the wrong surgery have an obligation to report those mistakes.

In just the first six months of 2019, there were official reports for 60 operations that ended with a foreign object left in a patient’s body and another 29 surgeries with wrong-site errors or other invasive mistakes. While it is likely that some mistakes go unrecognized and unreported, those that do become part of publicly available statistics still seem to occur more frequently than people might imagine.

Surgical mistakes can have costly consequences 

An operation is difficult on your body and so often requires a lengthy period of rehabilitation. People often have to take time off of work and require physical therapy and pain management to regain function after undergoing surgery.

When medical professionals make major mistakes during an operation, that can drastically impact someone’s recovery. It may take them longer to heal, especially because they may require a second surgery to correct the mistake for an additional surgery because the original procedure did not correct the medical issues that necessitated the procedure in the first place.

More time off of work and thousands of dollars of additional medical expenses may be required after a surgical mistake. Victims of such medical errors may need to file a malpractice claim or lawsuit in order to protect themselves from the financial fallout of someone else’s mistake.