How common are surgical errors?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2020 | Surgical Errors |

In the United States, medical professionals perform around 48 million surgeries per year. Since most practitioners have proper training, procedural risks are low. Yet, while surgical errors are uncommon, they remain a serious problem. As a patient, it’s crucial that you understand your odds of experiencing one.

Surgical errors are infrequent

Each year, over 4,000 surgical errors occur in the United States. Yet, some experts argue this number is a low estimate. This figure represents a small percentage of total procedures. But errors like accidental nerve damage or operating on the wrong body part have serious consequences for patients.

To reduce the chance of error, surgeons are encouraged to follow a checklist when completing procedures. This system reduces surgical fatalities by more than 40%. And it decreases complications by 30%. While most operation rooms in the United States use this checklist, there is no law requiring they do so. And adhering to these guidelines does not prevent practitioners from committing errors altogether, especially with other variables factored in.

Surgical errors are preventable

Most surgical errors qualify as preventable. These mistakes occur due to negligence on the part of surgeons or practitioners. Because they have high stakes jobs, they may enter the operating room in a suboptimal state.

Some common factors that contribute to surgical errors include:

  • Fatigue
  • Rushing
  • Incompetence or improper training
  • Digital distraction
  • Miscommunication of a medication dosage
  • Intoxication

Surgical errors carry serious risks which no one deserves to suffer from. If your practitioner made a preventable mistake, an attorney with medical malpractice experience can help you work toward achieving proper recourse.


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