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Common causes of surgical errors

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Patients who are getting wheeled to the operating room often experience a mix of emotions ranging from anxiety to hopefulness, with trust in their medical team’s expertise guiding them through uncertainty. When surgical errors happen due to negligence, this trust is shattered and patients may face devastating consequences, both physically and emotionally.

While surgical errors can be attributed to numerous causes, the following are some common contributing factors.

Inadequate surgeon training and education

When surgeons are inadequately trained or lack sufficient education in a particular procedure or technique, they may inadvertently make mistakes during surgery. This could include errors in judgment, improper technique or difficulty managing unexpected complications. Surgeons must undergo rigorous training and ongoing education to maintain their skills and stay abreast of advancements in their field.

Distractions and fatigue

Surgery is physically and mentally demanding work that requires intense concentration and focus for extended periods. Exhaustion, coupled with distractions can significantly impair a surgeon’s ability to perform optimally during surgery. Long hours in the operating room, combined with demanding schedules and personal stressors can lead to fatigue, diminishing cognitive function, reaction times and decision-making abilities. Distractions such as interruptions from medical staff, equipment malfunctions, or personal issues can divert attention away from the task at hand, increasing the risk of errors.

Equipment failure or malfunction

Modern surgical procedures rely heavily on sophisticated medical equipment and technology. When equipment fails or malfunctions during surgery, it can disrupt the procedure and potentially lead to errors or complications. Whether it’s a malfunctioning surgical instrument, a glitch in monitoring devices or a failure in the anesthesia delivery system, any breakdown in equipment can compromise patient safety and contribute to surgical errors.

Poor preoperative planning and preparation

Thorough preoperative planning and preparation are crucial for successful surgical outcomes. This includes conducting a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s medical history, performing necessary diagnostic tests and ensuring all required resources and personnel are available and prepared. Inadequate preoperative planning can lead to oversights, such as incorrect patient positioning, inadequate sterilization procedures or failure to anticipate potential complications, all of which can increase the risk of errors during surgery.

If you have suffered injury due to negligent surgical error, you may be entitled to seek legal recourse and pursue compensation for your medical expenses and other related losses. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.