Mistakes made during surgery can have a devastating impact on a patient’s health and well-being. There are a number of things that can go wrong during a surgical procedure. There is an increased likelihood of errors, mishaps, and medical malpractice in the operating room when there is a lack of clear communication among the members of the surgical team including the doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and other technicians who may be present.
When mistakes made by surgical staff are triggered by negligence, incompetence or lack of proper quality control, the staff members as well as the hospital can be held liable for the patient’s injuries, damages and losses. An experienced West Virginia medical malpractice lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options and help them secure maximum compensation for their losses.
Common Surgical Errors
Here are some of the most common surgical errors that occur in operating rooms as a result of mistakes made by staff mistakes and nurse errors:
Medication mistakes: Giving the wrong medication to a patient, dispensing an incorrect dosage of medication or giving a prescription to the wrong patient are some of the common errors that could prove fatal to patients. This might happen in the case of new or inexperienced staff members who lack sufficient training. They may lack the presence of mind or succumb to the nerves and pressure in the operating room.
It is important that nursing and other staff employ measures to prevent these mistakes. They could use patient-specific identifiers to ensure that the right medication is administered to the right patient. The nursing staff should verify any reactions or allergies with the patient before administering the medication. They should also make sure the list of medication the patient is on is properly updated and ensure the dosage, weights and measurements are accurate.
Issues with infection: Infection is an extremely common problem in hospitals. Patients who have just undergone surgery are at a heightened risk of acquiring serious infections that could even prove life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospital infections account for nearly 100,000 deaths in U.S. hospitals each year.
Surgical and hospital staff should follow all protocols and procedures for sterilizing surgical instruments and practice good hygiene in the operating room and beyond. All medical staff should be knowledgeable and trained when it comes to standard precautions, cleaning and disinfection and strategies for infection prevention.
Charting or documentation errors: A number of medical staff, nurses in particular, are required to complete a lot of paperwork involving a patient’s treatment and recovery. Recording the essential information relating to each patient within a chart is an important part of a nurse’s job. However, there are a number of errors that can be made during the process. These mistakes can be prevented by understanding and implementing best practices such as recording the patient’s health and drug information; medications that have been administered; recording any discontinued medications; documenting nursing actions and changes in the patient’s condition; and recording any orders given regarding the patient’s care.
Wrong site surgery: When there is a lack of communication between the doctor and the medical staff, surgeries could be performed at the wrong locations or even on the wrong organ. This type of negligence could result in unnecessary surgery, physical pain, emotional suffering and added expenses for patients. Implementing checklists for surgical staff including nurses can help prevent these types of surgical errors. All members of the surgical team and medical staff are responsible for ensuring that the appropriate surgery is taking place on the correct patient.
Anesthesia errors: Mistakes made by anesthesiologists during surgery can be very serious. Anesthesiologists are an important component of surgical teams. They need to make sure they have all the information they need about a patient before they undergo surgery including any allergies they may have and their medical history. Administering the correct dosage of anesthesia is crucial. Administering too much anesthesia could hinder the patient’s ability to circulate oxygen through the body leading to brain damage while not enough anesthesia could cause the patient to awaken before the surgery is done.
Negligent post-operative care: Proper care after surgery is important in order to ensure that a patient’s recovery goes smoothly and that he or she can get on the road to being healthy and well again. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff entrusted with the patient’s care have a responsibility to ensure that patients are not prematurely discharged and that they get good follow-up instructions regarding post-operative care.
This is important in order to prevent serious complications including infections, which could occur especially because after surgery, patients’ immune systems may be compromised. Negligent hospital staff members, for example, could cause such issues by using unsanitary equipment, leaving the patient vulnerable to infection. It is the responsibility of the surgical team and the hospital to make sure that operating environments are safe for patients.
Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
Medical and nursing staff along with surgeons can bring down the risk of these types of common surgical mistakes simply by practicing due diligence, implementing safeguards including additional staff, more frequent equipment checks and by providing staff members with frequent and updated training. Often, we see that a number of hospitals and medical facilities in West Virginia may be understaffed, which could very well lead to tragic errors during surgery, which could prove extremely costly for patients and their families.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death due to surgical errors, particularly those caused by surgical staff or nurses at hospitals such as Ruby Memorial Hospital, Monongalia General (Mon General) Hospital, Mon Health Systems WVU University Health Associates or private clinics in West Virginia, our Morgantown medical malpractice lawyers can help you receive maximum compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.
The Robinette Legal Group PLLC have a long and successful track record of representing injured victims and their families in personal injury cases, including those that involve medical negligence, throughout the state of West Virginia. We will work with you to build the strongest case possible, retain medical experts who can provide valuable testimony in your case, and help you hold the negligent parties accountable. Contact us today at 304-594-1800 to discuss your potential case. Initial consultations are free.