Surgical Equipment Errors Can Be Deadly

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February 06, 2019
Edward Smith

Surgical Equipment Errors Can be Deadly

Nobody visits the doctor expecting something to go wrong; however, according to a recently published study by Johns Hopkins Medical Center, surgical equipment errors are more common than most people realize. There are firm procedures to minimize errors in an operating room, but sometimes, errors can occur. Some of the essential statistics from the study include:

  • Over eight years, more than 250,000 people were killed by medical errors.
  • This surpasses the third-highest cause of death in the United States annually: respiratory diseases.
  • Other common causes of death include heart disease, which kills just over 600,000 people annually, and cancer, which kills just under 600,000 people annually.
  • More than 4,000 surgical errors occur annually in the United States

One of the examples of medical errors is surgical equipment issues, which can be deadly. Read below to learn how a surgical equipment error can harm someone and how these can be prevented in the future.

Surgical Equipment can be Forgotten Inside a Patient.

Surgical equipment is essential to every operation but can also cause problems if left inside a patient. Devices that might be left behind include towels, sponges, bands, and retractors. As the towels and sponges fill with blood and bodily fluid, they can blend in with the rest of the body. For this reason, they might be left behind and inside of the patient. Bands and retractors might become hidden under organs and could be missed at the end of the operation. Some of the problems that this equipment can cause include:

  • Damage and perforation of internal organs
  • Development of infection
  • Impairment of normal organ function

These problems can lead to a second surgery and hospital stay that could have otherwise been avoided. Learn some of the ways that this problem can be prevented below.

Watch YouTube Video: Although surgical equipment rarely gets left in patients, it does happen.  Learn about one woman’s experience below.

Preventing Surgical Errors Using Equipment Counts

A simple counting method is one of the procedures that have been put in place to avoid surgical equipment mistakes. In this safeguard, all equipment is tallied and counted before an operation. This information is usually written on a whiteboard in an operating room. When the operation has finished, all equipment needs to be counted again. If something is missing (and has been left inside of the patient), the counts won’t match. This will let the surgeon know something is unaccounted for and might be left inside the patient. This safeguard is essential in preventing sponges, towels, and other tools from sewn up inside the patient at the end of the operation.

Contacting an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

When a loved one requires surgery, this can be a stressful time. There can be questions about the risks of the surgery and concerns about the recovery time. Ultimately, most people expect to make a full recovery after the procedure. When something goes wrong, it is normal for families to ask for help. In this situation, meeting with a Sacramento personal injury attorney can help families find answers to their questions. Some of the ways that an injury lawyer can be helpful include:

  • Reviewing the records of the incident, ensuring that all of the details have been taken into account
  • Serving as an objective presence to help families make decisions during a difficult time
  • Helping families seek damages related to their injuries, pain, and suffering
  • Taking a case to trial, if this is needed

Families should not have to face such a difficult time alone. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento today to learn more. You and your family might be deserving of a financial settlement.

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. While all surgical procedures have risks, some mistakes are avoidable. If you or a family member has suffered complications related to surgical equipment, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

I am humbled to have been inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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Image Attribution: The image at the beginning of this page is saved at its original location on Pixabay. The image has been printed here with permission/ Surgical Equipment Errors can be Deadly.

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