Each day, people throughout New Jersey receive surgery for a wide range of conditions. Whether you’re undergoing surgery for cosmetic reasons or to improve your health, these procedures involve placing a lot of trust in your practitioners. Because of that, it can be understandably shocking if you’re the victim of a surgical error.
The shocking prevalence of surgical errors
The medical malpractice insurer Coverys published a study after spending five years analyzing medical negligence claims closed from 2014 to 2018. This company found that surgical errors accounted for 25% of all closed claims, second only to claims involving misdiagnoses.
This same study found that 78% of the over 2,500 claims involved performance-related errors during a surgical procedure. Of all the specialties involved in this study, general surgeries resulted in 22% of malpractice claims. Slightly below that was orthopedic surgery, causing 17% of these claims.
Out of all of these claims, 29% of patients experienced “permanent significant” injuries from surgical errors. Sadly, 9% of these botched surgeries resulted in a patient’s death.
What experts feel can reduce errors in the operating room
At the end of the study, the authors mentioned ways for surgeons to reduce surgical errors. One of these tips was to have an operating room that’s free from all distractions. Some of the distractions surgeons deal with are smartphone alerts, distracting music and too much traffic in an operating room.
Another tip mentioned in this study was having operating rooms in hospitals adopt the sterile cockpit rule used in aviation. This regulation involves having everyone stop performing any non-essential duties during high-risk activities. Applying these regulations to operating rooms would mean all non-essential activities would cease until a surgical procedure is complete.
As you can see, surgical errors are more prevalent than you might think. To avoid being the victim of medical malpractice, research the surgeon who is performing your procedure. If something doesn’t feel right, consider putting off the procedure or finding another surgeon.