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How do surgical errors happen in modern hospitals?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

Modern medicine has become so complex and advanced that there are literal robots that perform parts of surgery now. Those who operate on other humans have to undergo intensive education and hands-on practice in order to ensure that they are competent and skilled enough for this safety-crucial position.

Most surgeons will operate with a team of professionals who support them, including nurses and technicians. There will be paperwork and computer programs that help to remind everyone involved of the correct procedures.

Given that there is so much education and infrastructure supporting surgical operations, you might think surgical mistakes are rare. However, they are a relatively common and often severe form of medical malpractice. What factors contribute to surgical mistakes?

Physician burnout can affect surgeons too

Imagine that every tiny movement of your wrist could potentially be a life-or-death act. Now imagine that you have to continually go from procedure to procedure over an 8-, 10- or even 12-hour shift.

Many surgeons perform multiple operations on any given day. They work long hours and often have incredibly high levels of stress. No matter how diligent a professional is, burnout is still possible. They might simply not have the mental focus they would when handling a lower workload. Exhaustion can also affect the way that their brains work and how steady their hands are.

Communication issues can lead to major medical mistakes

There is a lot of jargon used in the medical world, some of which has more common uses among the general population. The surgeon or one of their support professionals might misinterpret a few words or a phrase to mean something completely different than what the speaker intended.

Miscommunication in or out of the operating room might mean that a surgeon thinks a nurse has already completed a task that they did not, leading to them leaving a tool behind while stitching someone up, for example.

Corporate medical facilities don’t prioritize patient care or staff success

The sad truth about for-profit medical institutions is that few people really benefit from this structure. Other than those making money off of the system, almost everyone else takes on additional risks. Surgeons are often overworked and under intense pressure to perform, while patients are just one more source of revenue for the hospital and not a person with unique needs and fears.

The victims of surgical mistakes often need additional care and could have thousands of dollars in excess medical expenses because of someone’s oversight. Those hurt in a poorly perform surgery or due to a mistake on the operating table may have grounds to bring a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon or facility involved in their treatment.