2 Preventable Errors That Occur in the Operating Room

People who are going to have surgery trust in the surgical team to get the procedure done without any complications. While there are some that can't be avoided, there are many that can. It is imperative that operating room staff takes precautions to ensure the patient remains safe.

Some surgical errors are known as "never events." These are ones that shouldn't happen because they can be easily prevented if the proper surgical protocol is established and followed. Here are some points that patients might need to know:

Verification of the patient, site, and procedure are critical

Around 40 events occur each week that are related to surgeons operating on the wrong patient, doing the procedure on the incorrect site, or performing the incorrect procedure. These are all tragic, even if the person doesn't suffer serious injuries. They can be prevented if the nurses, surgical technicians, and surgeons would take the time to verify the information.

Many surgical centers have taken to physically marking the surgical site with a marker and having the patient initial it if they are able to do so. If the patient can't, they might have someone else initial the area. Taking a few minutes to check the patient's identity and having a brief discussion about the procedure can also help to avoid problems.

Surgical instrument counts must happen

Another common error is retained surgical instruments. This, too, is an issue that should never occur. Having items and materials left behind in the patient can be problematic since it will often cause serious health issues, including infections. Plus, the patient will have to endure another surgery to get the items out. This is an easy error to avoid if everyone who is in the room communicates.

Another step that can help to ensure that everything is removed from the patient is counting every tool involved in the surgery. Every item that is placed within the patient should be counted before it is put in and again when it is taken out. If anything isn't accounted for, the patient shouldn't be closed up.

Patients have rights, surgeons have responsibilities

Patients can hold surgeons accountable for the errors that occur in the operating room. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is possible when the problem was negligence on the part of a member of the medical team. This must be done quickly after the error is discovered, so review your options as soon as possible.

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