HomeSurgery ArticlesHow Often Do Surgeons Make Mistakes?

How Often Do Surgeons Make Mistakes?

Errors are inevitable and we will always encounter them in our lives due to carelessness, not putting too much effort, and some unknown factors we failed to acknowledge and analyse that led to so many errors. There is such a saying called, “Everyone makes mistakes,” after all.

But in a field of highly skilled professionals who had undergone extensive training to become competent and excel in their field of expertise, can they really afford to make mistakes? Especially those who work in the line of medicine and healthcare, can medical workers, risk even have the slightest error when it’s their patient’s life is on the line of their work?

In this article, you will know how often do surgeons make mistakes, the effect or outcome of their mistakes on their patients and to them, and what are the consequences that they must face in order to pay for their mistakes.

Types of Medical Mistakes

There are many types of medical mistakes that a client or patient could encounter. It can get unnoticed but even if it is just a simple mistake, it could still put a patient at risk of danger.

The first type of mistake can be pretty common and it is misdiagnosis. Diagnosing is the process of making assumptions about a patient’s condition due to the signs and symptoms that a patient shows. Some doctors misdiagnose their patient’s condition whether they are in a critical situation or not. If they made an error in diagnosing, there are chances where it could put your patient at a risk for danger. For example, if they diagnose a patient with a serious condition, a patient might hasten for the treatment or have surgery be done to them if it is necessary. Since the diagnosis was incorrect, it could either worsen the patient’s condition or not heal them, and they only spent their money for nothing. Fortunately, on some occasions, misdiagnosis does not really harm the patient.

Giving the Wrong Dosage
Another mistake that could put a patient at risk is by giving them the wrong dosage of their medication. There are two endings for giving the wrong dosage if the dosage is inadequate, it would not really heal or treat the patient due to the inadequate amount of medication and if the doctor gave more than what is the normal dosage, there is a higher chance that a patient could overdose from drugs and pass away.

Surgical Errors
This type of medical mistake is by far one of the most dangerous and could possibly put the patient at a higher risk for danger. Surgical errors are done by surgeons or anyone in the surgical team since a surgeon is not the only one who performs the surgery but with other medical professionals as well.

A surgical error could be when a surgeon might have nicked an artery that caused the patient to lose blood. Another common mistake in the operation room is when a surgeon accidentally leaves a gauze inside a patient’s body and it got infected from the inside.

Ghost Surgeries
Lastly, this mistake that a surgeon could make is when a surgeon was supposed to operate on their patient but when that surgeon’s schedule was suddenly interrupted with a sudden event such as an emergency, that surgeon could make a deal with another surgeon to perform their assigned surgery for them. This is a major mistake and it is highly unethical since it went against a signed contract with the patient and now, the surgery will be done by a different surgeon without the patient’s consent due to them being sedated on the operating table.

The Average Number of Medical Errors or Medical Negligence By Surgeons

According to Melbourne University, medical professionals in Australia have an estimated rate of 10 to 15% in making errors in their practices, which in total, is about 140,000 cases. On the bright side, most of these errors in the cases are not fatal or cause harm to patients, but of course, the worst is not unavoidable.

In some other research, surgical errors can happen over 4,000 times every year. A total of 39 times in a week, is the average amount of surgeons accidentally leaving a foreign object such as gauze or perhaps a surgical tool inside their patient’s body. For another common error, in an average of 20 times every week, a surgeon performs the wrong surgery on their patients or perhaps, they had operated on a wrong body part or organ.

What are the Consequences of their Medical Negligence?

In a situation in which the life of a person is at stake and it was caused by a person’s negligence or mistake, there are sure consequences for them to pay for their mistakes.

A patient who experienced any medical malpractice from the surgeon could file a lawsuit against them because, besides justice, they will reap some benefits from when they win against in the lawsuit that they filed against the medical professional who had medical negligence or made a mistake in their services towards the patient.

The patient could get the compensation that they need for their recovery when they win the case. While the medical professional who was accused, on some occasions, their penalties are minor like being suspended from the medical establishments so that they could not perform their practices. On some occasions, the accused medical professional will have to pay a fine for the mistakes they have committed, and while on worst situations and extreme penalties, their license could be suspended and they will be put on probation since they are being investigated by the medical board of the medical establishment that they are working for.

There are possible endings to it once the investigation is over. They will either be called back into work but limited to some practices or their license could be revoked, disabling them to perform any medical practices unless they try to take the licensure exams again to acquire a new license of a surgeon to continue their surgical practices.


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