Errors in the operating room can be costly for patients, not only because of the health impacts but also due to the effects on their life. What makes these situations so maddening is that it is usually possible to prevent them when everyone involved in the procedure takes the initiative to put the patient first and follow the protocols established for safety.
Some of the most common problems in the operating room are known as never events. These are things that should never happen. Addressing them is good way for surgical programs to improve patient safety.
- Anesthesia errors: These are problems with the types of medications used and the dosages. Instead of reviewing the specifics only once, the anesthesiology team should check again to ensure they are doing things properly. This includes checking things during the course of the procedure.
- Nerve damage: Some damage in the nerves comes from the way the patient is positioned during the surgery. Paying attention to the body mechanics of the person can help to prevent this.
- Wrong-patient, wrong-procedure, wrong-site surgery: Avoiding these issues requires everyone who contacts the patient prior to the procedure to verify facts. The person should be asked their name. The type of surgery should be discussed. Some surgeons actually mark the location of the surgery with a marker.
- Retained objects in the patient: Anything that is used during the surgery should be accounted for before the patient is closed up. Different surgical programs will have different ways to do this. Some use a system of double checks, while others have written checklists that include everything that is used.
- Infections after the procedure: The days after a surgery have to include close monitoring. The risk of the site becoming infected is present since the skin is cut and foreign objects are part of procedures. Signs of this problem include redness, swelling and pain at the incision. It might ooze and you may run a fever. Immediate treatment is necessary.
Patients who suffer from surgical errors must ensure that they are getting the care they need. This can be costly and time-consuming. It might include invasive elements, such as another surgery. If you are injured by an error related to a surgery, you might choose to seek compensation via a medical malpractice lawsuit.