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Surgical Errors Surprisingly Common


doctor studying xray of a spine

Every year, over 4,000 preventable mistakes occur during surgery. While it sounds like the stuff of horror movies, doctors have left foreign objects inside of patients’ bodies, operated on the wrong patient, and operated on the wrong part of patients’ bodies.

Sometimes, surgeons even amputate the wrong limb.

WSPEs and Never Events

The above surgical mistakes are referred to as WSPEs. WSPEs can be described as any of the following:

  • wrong-site errors
  • wrong-procedure errors
  • wrong-patient errors

In the healthcare field, WSPEs are considered never events, or errors that never should have happened. Unfortunately, these mishaps do happen. Based on medical malpractice claims, experts suspect never events happen at least 4,044 times per year. Still, many others go unreported.

In many cases, items left behind after surgery are not discovered. If a dropped sponge, for example, does not cause a complication in the patient, it may remain in the body for many years. Mistakes that do cause complications permanently injure 33% of patients and cause death in 6.6% of cases.

Mitigating Human Error with Patient Engagement

Human error is impossible to eliminate, but it becomes a serious problem when medical professionals engage in procedures that endanger human lives. As a result, most medical institutions have found that patient engagement is one of the biggest deterrents of never events. If you suspect your surgeon is preparing to operate on the wrong side of your body, or you simply notice that they seem tired, it is important that you speak up. Drawing attention to adverse conditions or rescheduling a surgery may be the difference between life and death.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Still, someone else’s mistake should not end or seriously alter your life. If you have been affected by a surgical mistake, you do not have to deal with the consequences alone.

One response to the alarmingly high rates of surgical error is the rising popularity of medical malpractice lawsuits. While compensation does not undo an injury, it can help patients recover and serve as a deterrent to doctors, thus encouraging them to know their limits and avoid the same types of mistakes in the future.

If you have been harmed by a surgical error, you owe it to yourself and those who follow to call the Law Offices of David Henderson at (888) 295-6566 today.

As the founding attorney of this law firm, I will not hesitate to put my 20+ years of experience to work on your behalf. Get in touch for a free consultation today!