Mistakes made in the operating room don’t always involve taking off the wrong limb or slicing into an unintended organ. Many of the errors made can be the smallest acts of confusion, carelessness or even inexperience on the part of the surgeon or his operating crew.
Other times the fault may lie in insufficient resources or defective operating equipment. No matter the fault, however, all of these mishaps are preventable and if procedure and attention had been the priority they would have been.
No. 1. — Foreign Objects in the Body.
There are countless instances where foreign objects are inadvertently left in the body of a patient. From gauze and pads to scalpels and clamps, surgeons have left all manner of materials in patients out of sheer negligence. This can result in extreme pain and serious infections. A simple medical checklist can prevent this from happening.
No. 2 — Wrong Patient
This can result from a variety of factors from no preoperative verification protocol to a serious miscommunication between surgeons and other doctors. The miscommunications can result in the removal of perfectly healthy organs and a whole slew of other situations where patients don’t get the treatment they were prescribed.
No. 3 — Wrong Side
While this seems the worst mistake in the book, it actually happens fairly regularly. This often involves surgery being performed on the incorrect lung, kidney or many worse instances. Then there is the poignant case of the man who had the wrong leg removed.
No. 4 — Anesthesia Errors
By far the most detrimental errors involve improper administration of anesthesia. Too much of this powerful drug can deprive the brain of oxygen this can result in rapid brain damage and death. If too little anesthesia is given it can cause the patient to awaken during the procedure and experience tremendous pain.
No. 5 — Nerve Damage
While your doctor is at work addressing a single health condition, it is quite possible to inadvertently cause another through carelessness. A small slip of the wrist and the scalpel’s edge can nick an artery, lung or nerve and lead to serious mishaps in the future.
According to ABC News, surgical errors happen more offten than we think:
While mistakes on the job can happen all the time, those with the lives of others in their hands should be held to much higher standards than most professions. Simple organization and attention to the procedure can avoid any of these common surgery errors.