Medical error or medical mistake, which is a failure to provide the quality care that a patient rightly deserves, is one of the many types of malpractice in the area of medicine. This scary mistake, which occurs in many hospitals and clinics in the US, often results to prolonged illness, permanent disability, other life-threatening conditions, and even death. Medical errors, however, are totally preventable since these are merely due to negligence or carelessness committed by medical professionals. This carelessness, according to the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services, resulted to the death of about 180,000 Medicare patients in 2010; however, in an article printed in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors is said to have ranged between 210,000 and 440,000 during the same year.
One example of medical mistake, which continues to cause great harm in patients, is surgical error. Surgery, due to its being a risky procedure, is resorted to by doctors only as a last recourse in treating an illness after all other attempts to remedy a patient’s health complaint fail. In its website, the Abel Law Firm explains that a patient, who undergoes surgery, puts a great deal of trust in his/her doctor’s ability to correctly diagnose an illness and decision to recommend surgery when the doctor sees it as a necessary part of treatment. However, instead of improving patients’ condition, so many surgical procedures have rather become more harmful and, quite alarming, a number of these errors have been committed by highly-respected medical professionals or in some of the best hospitals in the country.
Some examples of surgical errors that are listed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality include: wrong dosage of anesthesia; removal of wrong organ; wrong-person surgery; wrong-site surgery; incorrect surgical procedure; improper suturing; accidental puncture or laceration; foreign bodies or surgical instruments left inside the body of a patient; hematoma or post-operative hemorrhage; respiratory failure, or pulmonary embolism; wound dehiscence (the rupturing of a wound along a surgical suture, which is a surgical complication that may be due to age, diabetes, obesity, poor knotting, or post-surgery trauma due to the wound); and, wrongful death resulting from complications from negligent surgery.
About 4,000 surgical errors are committed every year in various hospitals and clinics around the US. Thousands of lawsuits are also filed every year against doctors and hospitals by patients who have been injured due to these errors.