Surgical errors continue despite new safety guidelines.
In September 2005, Richard Flagg underwent surgery to remove a benign mass from his left lung. Sadly, this somewhat routine procedure turned fatal when the surgeon at the hospital operated on the wrong lung, removing nearly half of Flagg’s healthy right lung.
This story is just one example of surgical mistakes made by physicians that commonly end with medical malpractice claims. Although hospitals nationwide are required to follow more strict guidelines concerning surgical procedures, the Denver Health Medical Center has recently performed a study and concluded that medical mistakes, including wrong-site and wrong-patient surgeries, still continue to happen.
Preventative measures cannot stop all medical errors.
There are a number of health care organizations that have been created in order to help prevent physician malpractice. The Joint Commission is a global health care advocacy organization that created a Universal Protocol to be followed before, during, and after all surgical procedures. In addition, the WHO or World Health Organization has created a checklist for surgeons to follow in order to reduce complications, surgical errors, and deaths associated with improper surgical procedures.
To err is human?
Being a surgeon is an extremely complex profession. It is important, as a patient, to become involved in your own surgical procedure. For example, you should ask your surgeon any questions that you might have, reiterate the surgery and surgery site, and address any concerns you have prior to the procedure.
Humans make mistakes, and not every outcome is certain. However, if a medical professional’s treatment fell below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and you suffered an injury as a result, you have the right (and some would say an obligation) to file a claim and seek compensation for your damages.