How common are surgical errors?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Surgical Errors

Surgery can be a huge risk for some patients, but the procedure can be risky for physicians as well when it comes to medical malpractice claims. According to medical liability insurer Coverys, surgery is the second most common reason for malpractice claims against doctors. If you live in New Jersey, here are some important things you should know if you think you may have a malpractice case.

More on the Coverys report

Coverys studied five years of medical malpractice claims from 2014 to 2018. The results indicated that claims related to surgery made of 25% of cases. Diagnosis claims accounted for 32% of the overall claims and these resulted in additional malpractice cases. In the 2,579 cases researched, 78% were pertaining to the doctor’s performance during the surgery.

When can malpractice occur?

The Coverys study emphasized that any phase of the surgical process, including the decision-making process leading up to surgery and aftercare, can lead to medical malpractice.

The medical specialties that possessed the most claims were general surgery, orthopedic surgery, and neurosurgery. These three types of operations accounted for almost half of medical malpractice claims. Among these claims, 29% of the injuries people sustained from surgery were classified as permanently significant and 9% of the injuries claimed the lives of patients. The claims allege that lack of surgical clinical skill and failure on the part of the surgeon to properly communicate with patients. Additional issues included leaving a foreign object in the patient, advising the patient to undergo a procedure that was not necessary, operating on the wrong part of the body, or delaying a surgery that will improve a patient’s health or condition.

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