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Surgical errors may indicate deeper safety issues at hospitals

Few people in Delaware face surgical procedures without some measure of anxiety. Surgery involves many unknowns and a certain loss of control when one places him or herself in the hands of a doctor. In the best case scenario, the patient emerges from the procedure successfully and on the road to recovery. However, in some cases, patients wake up from surgery to the unthinkable when they are victims of surgical errors.

One person recently awoke from surgery to find that doctors had mistakenly removed a kidney. The kidney removal had been scheduled for another patient. The Joint Commission responsible for accrediting hospitals recommends that patients be marked at the site of surgery and that the surgical staff take time before an operation to verify that the patient and the planned procedure match. However, this safeguard is not foolproof. For example, a patient may be wearing the wrong ID bracelet, or the wrong X-rays may be sent to the operating room.

It is estimated that 200,000 people died last year from surgical or postoperative complications. One study concluded that one in 112,000 surgeries involves a serious error. Nevertheless, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines errors such as the recent kidney removal as mistakes that should never happen. A surgical blunder as severe as this may signify that more basic safety issues exist at the hospital.

The patient involved in this matter may be left to anticipate a lifetime of health issues. Additionally, the patient may be required to make major lifestyle changes because of the loss of one kidney. When patients in Delaware experience the injury and trauma of surgical errors, they often contact an attorney. An attorney will examine each case and answer any questions about seeking possible compensation for their suffering.

Source: CNN, "Surgeon accused of removing kidney from wrong patient", Elizabeth Cohen, Aug. 10, 2016

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