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Understanding common causes of surgical errors in the U.S.

Preventable errors can have serious consequences in a medical procedure. Each year in the United States, thousands of surgical errors occur. Delaware patients may understand the "ordinary" risks of surgery, but should not have to accept an error caused by the negligence of a surgeon. If a preventable mistake occurs, it could have major ramifications on a patient's life.

Research indicates that a significant number of surgeons suffer from burnout. In fact, approximately one-third of doctors say they suffer from excessive fatigue, over 55 percent say they are burned out, and a small percentage have even thought about suicide. Fatigued medical professionals have proved to be at higher risk of making a critical mistake, with overworked surgeons being a serious problem in U.S. hospitals.

In a work environment where all other factors tend to make patients safe, a burned out doctor triples the risk of a medical mistake. Stress is unavoidable in the medical profession, but the amount of stress doctors are under these days appears to be overwhelming. Under these conditions, surgeons risk making technical mistakes during procedures that put the lives of their patients at risk.

While patients typically must give their informed consent to any surgery, they may have recourse in the case of surgical errors that result from neglect or other avoidable causes. Prevailing in such a claim will require proving both damages and clarifying that the surgical error fell outside the accepted standard of care due to an avoidable and preventable mistake on the part of the surgeon. A Delaware lawyer can help people who have been victims of such circumstances understand their options.

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