Unnecessary Surgery & Preventable Errors: Minimizing Risks

Medical Malpractice Lawyer St. LouisSurgical errors are often preventable or result from an unnecessary procedure.

Most errors happen as a result of multiple factors. But errors in judgment or memory failure are major common contributing factors. One study showed that when doctors talk to their patients before the surgery, the doctor is much less likely to perform a procedure on the wrong limb. When doctors wait until the patient arrives in the operating room to talk to them, they are more likely to make the mistake of performing surgery on the wrong body part. Fatalities from surgical complications fell 35 percent when doctors met with patients beforehand.

Doctors who talk to a patient before surgery are less likely to operate on the wrong limb than those who see the patient for the first time when he or she arrives in the operating room. A study revealed that when introductions were made prior to surgery, the average number of complications and deaths fell by 35 percent.

Causes of surgical error

Hospitals have definitely been stepping up protocol to avoid surgical errors and medical mistakes. But preventable errors are still occurring. There are some identifiable factors that contribute to these surgical errors. Some of these include surgeons who are inexperienced, excessive workloads on surgeons, surgeon fatigue, inadequate supervision, illness, distraction or interruption, and inadequate technology or hospital systems. These are preventable.

Over the years there have been many new developments in technologies and surgeries that have improved the quality of life for many patients. And surgery requires such specialized training and highly skilled doctors who are able to implement these new procedures. But it is also important to remember that there are still a lot of things that doctors and surgeons do not know. There is still a lot to surgery that is trial and error.

For instance, many patients undergo expensive procedures that ultimately are unnecessary and not beneficial. Doctors may recommend these procedures before they have undergone enough testing.

Unnecessary Surgeries

There have been studies done that show that there are many unnecessary surgical procedures performed on patients. For instance, it has been reported that surgeries like therapeutic knee arthroscopies and vertebroplasties have not shown any benefit to patients, but this has not stopped doctors from continuing to perform these procedures.

In England The Department of Health reported that in 2011 hospital procedures marked as “urgent” were cancelled with an increase of 40 percent. For many this has called into question what unnecessary surgeries have been marked as “urgent.”

Post surgery infections are one of the major adverse medical events that happen in a hospital. However, even though they are fairly common, diagnosing infections following a surgical procedure can be difficult. Having a systemic inflammatory response (SIRS) can be normal following certain surgeries.

These are all major issues that patients should not have to consider when they are faced with the need to undergo surgery. They should be able to trust that their doctors are at the top of their game, not overworked, and are following all of the necessary protocols to make the experience as safe as possible. When preventable surgical errors occur, it may be the doctor’s fault or it may be the hospital’s fault.

St. Louis Surgical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have been harmed or a family member has died as the result of a preventable surgical error, contact the St. Louis surgical malpractice attorneys at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm.  Our awarded team of legal experts have a reputation for recovering millions in compensation for their clients.

To schedule a free and private consultation call us today at (314) 588-7200 or fill out our online contact form.


photo credit: phalinn

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