Surgery – even relatively minor surgeries – can present a number of risks. Learn more about how to protect yourself from some of the more common surgical malpractice risks:
- Surgical “never events.” Approximately 80 surgical “never events” – such as surgical instruments left inside the patient and the wrong surgery performed – occur every week. According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins University, surgical “never events” happen at least 4,000 times a year in the United States and more than 80,000 “never events” occurred between 1990 and 2010. Common types of surgical “never events” include: instruments unintentionally left behind in the patient, wrong procedure performed, wrong surgical site, and surgery performed on the wrong patient.
Simply put, the high rate of surgical “never events” must improve. Not only are the lives of thousands of patients put at risk because of these careless and preventable surgical mistakes, but oftentimes the only recourse for the victims of surgical “never events” is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit because, pursuant to a 2010 federal health care law, Medicaid no longer pays claims for certain “never events,” such operations on the wrong body part and certain surgical site infections. Data shows that the prevalence of surgical “never events” could be dramatically reduced through the implementation of various safety measures. For instance, some hospitals have started using new technologies (such as bar codes on surgical tools) and requiring “timeouts” in the operating room to double-check the surgical plans. Moreover, doctors, nurses, and hospitals must work together to minimize the incidence of “never events” and provide the standard of health care that patients deserve.
- Unnecessary procedures. Studies show that each year $700 billion is spent on unnecessary tests and treatments. Not only are unnecessary procedures costly, but they can also expose patients to additional medical risks. For instance, CT scans may increase a person’s lifetime risk of cancer and the dyes from CT scans and MRIs can cause kidney failure. It is important that patients know whether a procedure is necessary and the risks involved with the procedure before agreeing to it. Patients can help minimize the risk of an unnecessary surgical procedure by seeking a second opinion.
- Defective medical devices. As we recently reported, medical device recalls happen on a daily basis. While some medical device recalls are relatively easy to fix by correcting the problem or returning the product, in some cases the harm caused by a defective medical device can be catastrophic or even deadly. If you suspect that your medical device has failed or you have been injured by a medical device, you should consult with a healthcare professional and contact a medical device lawyer.
- Infections. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 1.7 million people catch an infection in the hospital, such as pneumonia, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections from catheters, and bloodstream infections from IVs. Moreover, NBC News reported that investigations in hospitals across the country have revealed the use of dirty surgical instruments, which can greatly increase the likelihood of infection.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you suspect that you may have been the victim of surgical malpractice, it is important to consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to helping the victims of medical malpractice obtain full and fair financial recovery for their injuries. If you suspect that you might have been the victim of surgical malpractice, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.