Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Surgical errors all too common

With more than a quarter million patients dying every year in the United States due to medical malpractice, it's startling to discovery just how many of these mistakes could have been easily avoided. Surgical errors such as leaving tools in patients or operating on the wrong body part should just never occur.

To put things in perspective, medical mistakes could be considered the third largest cause of fatalities in America. And the millions of patients injured due to medical and surgical errors could be even more telling: many of these injuries involve lifelong afflictions that result in great pain and suffering.

Patients can play a role in reducing the amount of medical mistakes made. However, clearly patients should not be placed in the position where it is up to them to ensure mistakes do not occur.

For example, a patient likely will need to communicate any pain or discomfort suffered after a surgical tool was left inside of their body. Though it may be little consolation to a patient to ask if a tool has been left inside of them, by this point it may be the only way of limiting the amount of damage that has already been done due to this mistake.

There are certain mistakes that patients can do little to prevent. When air bubbles are left in the blood because of proper insertion of a tube, these bubbles could ultimately block the blood supply to many major organs.

Patients have woken up during surgery, have had the wrong tube placed in the wrong place, have had wrong parts of the body operated upon, and have suffered surgical infections because of poor hygiene or improper safety procedures put in place.

In such instances, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be all that can be done to be compensated for injuries, and to force doctors and hospitals to reevaluate the manner in which surgery is performed.

Source: CNN, "10 shocking medical mistakes," by John Bonifield and Elizabeth Cohen, Nov. 5, 2012

  • For Pittsburgh individuals wondering what can be done when a surgical error is made, please take a look at our website.

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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