Surgical Errors Law
What is Surgical Error Law?
Surgical Errors Law refers to a subset of Medical Malpractice related to injuries resulting during surgical procedures. The area focuses largely on surgeons failing to give adequate information to the patient or the patient's family to allow for informed consent, performing unnecessary procedures due to negligence or pecuniary interests, performing procedures for which the surgeon is not qualified, performing a procedure on the wrong patient or wrong body part, or other mistakes made during surgery.
Surgery Errors as Medical Malpractice
Surgical errors can be medical malpractice if the surgeon's performance falls below the accepted standard of care for a reasonably competent surgeon under similar circumstances, and the patient is injured as a result. Although some surgical errors are the result of a physician's actual incompetence, most result from poor planning before surgery or failure to properly communicate with the patient or his/her family about the possible risks associated with a procedure.
Some estimate that there are nearly 100,000 injuries from surgical errors every year in the United States. Of course, the nature of surgery means that many errors may go unreported or some events may be blamed on surgical error that are not, making these numbers very rough.
Common Causes of Surgical Errors
Doctors and other medical professionals usually have standard procedures they follow before, during, and after any medical procedure. Nevertheless, a breakdown in these procedures can lead to injuries. For example, if medical staff lack sufficient information about a patient's medical history, including reactions to medications, they may not be able to adequately evaluate the risks of a particular surgery on a specific patient. Another common problem is miscommunication, where one practitioner misidentifies a patient, marks the wrong area for surgery, confuses medications, etc.
Doctors and medical staff, particularly in emergency rooms, are often overworked and may suffer from fatigue. This tiredness can lead to an almost intoxicated state that affects judgment and motor skills. This can be deadly during a surgical procedure. This can also lead to neglectful behavior, such as failing to properly sterilize instruments or use instruments less well-suited to the procedure.
Very rarely, surgical errors may be the result of actual incompetence. Surgeons undergo years of study and training, but even this cannot guarantee that all doctors will be sufficiently skilled to perform a particular procedure.
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