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Surgical errors: Patients have a right to know

Surgical errors take place by the thousands every year, and patients and their families are left to deal with the consequences. Doctors may not want to admit to mistakes for fear of facing medical malpractice lawsuits, and they may never apologize to patients.

Therefore, people often end up turning to legal remedies as a way to resolve cases where they're not getting straight answers. Consider this: A patient who knows a medical provider is sorry and willing to fix a problem is less likely to pursue a legal remedy. Why? They're heard, and they can resolve the situation with compassion and attention to the needs of the patient.

What are some common surgical errors?

These include operating on the wrong side of the body, leaving foreign objects in the patient or performing the wrong procedure. In most cases, these are events that should not happen because there are many checks and balances in place to prevent them.

For instance, medical providers usually mark the body part to be operated on before surgery begins. If a patient or a medical professional notices discrepancies or problems, they should speak up to alert the surgeon to any confusion and to verify the site for surgery. During surgery, counting (and recounting) tools can reduce the likelihood of items being left in patients.

If a surgical error does take place, it is a patient's right to know. Quick treatment can help prevent complications or help the patient deal with the situation, even when the injuries caused are significant. Our site has more information on this important topic.

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