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Surgical Errors

You may think the operating room is one of the safest places in the world, a sterile room manned by highly trained professionals. In the vast majority of cases it is, but sadly, surgical accidents occur more frequently than most of us realize. If you are the victim of one of these, you need the assistance of one of the Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at the Shea Law Group.

Background and Perspective

To give you some idea of the extent of this problem, more than 4,000 preventable surgical accidents occur in the U.S. each year, leading to approximately $1.3 billion in medical malpractice settlements.

How preventable are most of these accidents? Researchers refer to them as “never events” because they are the kinds of surgical mistakes that should never happen, like performing the wrong procedure, operating on the wrong body part or leaving a surgical devise inside a patient’s body.

Common Surgical Errors

The following are some of the more common surgical errors.

  • Foreign objects left in the patient’s body. These include scalpels, pads, sponges and gauze. This can lead to severe pain, infections and death.
  • Wrong patient surgery. Believe it or not, this happens, leading to the removal of healthy organs or other problems when patients do not get the surgery for which they were admitted.
  • Wrong side surgery. Again, while hard to believe, it happens. In one recent case, a woman had a healthy kidney removed, leaving the diseased kidney behind in her body.
  • Anesthesia errors – These are the most serious and the most deadly of the surgical errors. Given too much anesthesia, the patient does not get enough oxygen, and that can lead to brain damage and death. If the patient is given too little, they might awaken during surgery and suffer tremendous pain.
  • Nerve damage – While your surgeon is working on one of your problems, he or she might give you another. A slight slip of the scalpel can damage a nerve, leading potentially to a lifetime of pain, infection and disability.

Anyone can make a mistake, but surgeons and other healthcare professionals must be held to the highest standards. If you or a loved one has been injured by a surgical error, we urge you to contact one of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys. At the Shea Law Group we’ll dedicate our time to assure that you receive compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of income.