Denver Surgical Error Lawyers Serving All of Colorado
According to the American Medical Association, more than 4,000 mistakes are made annually during surgery. These surgical errors are often called “never” events, as in they never should have occurred. These events can include leaving surgical instruments behind in the patient, performing a wrong procedure, operating upon a wrong surgical site, or performing surgery on the wrong patient. While most of the time the injury suffered as a result of these mistakes is temporary, there are occasions when a patient is left with permanent damage. In any case, these events are unacceptable.
Most adverse hospital events take place during surgery, and the most frequent surgical errors include:
- Foreign object left behind: This is by far the most common surgical mistake, as surgeons leave behind a sponge, towel, or even an instrument inside a patient nearly 40 times a week in the United States.
- Wrong procedure: It might seem hard to believe, but doctors frequently walk into the operating room and perform the wrong procedure on an unsuspecting patient about 20 times a week.
- Wrong site: Doctors also regularly operate on the wrong part of the body, as often as 20 times a week.
These mistakes can be costly, and not just financially. Medical errors result in:
- Death: 6.6 percent of the time.
- Permanent injury: 32.9 percent.
- Temporary injury: 59.2 percent.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a surgical error caused by a medical professional, please reach out to us today. We offer a free initial consultation to those who have been injured needlessly by a medical professional. If necessary, we will obtain your medical records and conduct the review necessary to determine whether or not we can help you. Call our Denver medical malpractice attorneys today at 303-792-5595 or fill out our FREE Case Evaluation form right away.
RETAINED FOREIGN BODIES
Sometimes a piece of medical equipment, such as a tube, sponge, or surgical needle, is left behind in a patient’s body after surgery. When a surgeon or medical professional leaves behind retained foreign bodies, also called retained surgical items, the patient is at increased risk for infection, illness, organ damage, and even death. Although medical professionals usually take great pains to eliminate the risk of retained foreign bodies, these safety measures can easily go overlooked, especially during emergency situations.
The items most often left behind in patients include:
- Sponges and towels, otherwise known as soft goods.
- Smaller surgical items, such as broken instruments parts, stapler components, guidewires, and catheters.
The failure to remove a surgical instrument or other object after surgery is a serious event. The patient almost always will be forced to undergo another surgery in order to remove the retained foreign body, which comes with its own set of potential complications.
If you have been forced to endure a second surgical procedure to remove a foreign object left behind by a negligent surgical staff, you need to contact a Colorado medical injury lawyer as soon as possible. Get in touch with Burg Simpson by calling 303-792-5595 or fill out a Free Case Evaluation Form now so we can help with your case.
WHAT IS WRONG SITE SURGERY?
Although wrong site surgery is rare, the results can be disastrous. Any operation can become a wrong site surgery. For some, these errors can be deadly. Even those whose survive wrong site surgery can be condemned to suffer a lifetime of poor health or disability. Even for those who do not suffer significant physical harm, they still have to carry around the psychological impact for the rest of their lives.
COMMON TYPES OF WRONG SITE SURGERY INCLUDE:
- Surgery on the wrong vertebral level of the spine.
- Wrong organ removed.
- Wrong limb amputated.
- Surgery on the wrong side of the body.
- Surgery on the correct site/wrong level or area (such as surgery on the correct hand, but the wrong finger).
- Surgery on the wrong patient, which can result in reversed procedures where each patient receives the wrong surgery.
Surgical errors are preventable. Certain circumstances, such as emergency procedures, which create time pressures or patients having unusual physical characteristics, can contribute to the risk of wrong site surgery. Proper policies and procedures can significantly reduce risks. In fact, most hospitals and surgical centers include safety protocols to prevent these horrific accidents, such as:
- Time outs: When the staff pauses to confirm medical orders and records.
- Inventory: When the staff takes stock of supplies and instruments used to ensure everything is accounted for.
- Indelible ink: Staff are starting to use this to mark the site of the surgery.
COMMON MISTAKES AND CIRCUMSTANCES INCLUDE:
- Sloppy pre-surgery planning.
- Incomplete patient assessment.
- Failure to observe “time out” before surgery.
- X-rays read backwards.
- Inadequate site marking procedures.
- More than one surgeon involved in a procedure.
- More than one procedure or surgical site involved in one surgical session.
- Poor communication between surgical team members.
- Time pressures.
- Failure to communicate with patient or patient’s family before surgery.
Surgery on the wrong part of the body or even the wrong patient can have devastating results. Amputation of the wrong limb can mean the loss of both limbs and a lifetime of disability. Removal of the wrong internal organ can change the outcome from improved health to a lifetime of serious health problems and even death. At the very least, victims of wrong site surgery lose faith in health care providers and the system overall, which could influence them to avoid life-saving procedures in the future.
If you or a loved one have suffered from wrong-site surgery, do not wait to call the Denver medical lawsuit attorneys today at 303-792-5595.
NERVE OR BRAIN INJURIES (POST-SURGERY)
Although rare, some of the most tragic examples of medical malpractice involve patients who are paralyzed as a result of preventable surgical spinal cord injury, which is a spinal cord injury sustained during surgery. Each year, numerous individuals suffer life-altering and painful spinal cord injuries as a result of negligent care. These are typically a result of a surgeon’s physical mistake or an error in anesthesia administration.
Spinal cord injuries usually cause severe swelling of the spinal cord from the location of the injury downward. As such, patients with spinal cord injuries to the upper part of the spinal column suffer from a greater loss of function and mobility, as more of their bodies are affected.
Spinal cord injuries fall into two main categories:
- Complete (Total) Spinal Cord Injuries – no functioning below the level of injury; or
- Incomplete (Partial) Spinal Cord Injuries – some feeling and/or movement below the injury, but impaired.
DISABILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Victims of spinal cord injuries can experience a wide range of health issues beyond a loss of mobility, including:
- Loss of muscle control
- Loss of bladder/bowel control
- Muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Ventilator dependence
- Dependence on tube feeding
OUR DENVER MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYERS CAN HELP
If you or a family member has suffered a serious injury because of a medical provider’s carelessness, reach out to us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation of your case. Call the Colorado medical malpractice lawyers at 303-792-5595 or complete our Free Case Evaluation Form as soon as possible.