When you schedule a routine surgery in a hospital or an outpatient facility, you should never have to experience anxiety about the likelihood of a serious surgical error that could result in severe or fatal harm. Yet medical mistakes are somewhat common—despite the fact that medical errors largely are preventable—and surgical errors are particularly so. Indeed, according to a recent report from Becker’s Clinical Leadership & Infection Control, surgical errors are the underlying cause of a majority of medical malpractice claims. As such, patients who are undergoing surgical procedures need to be aware of the risks of an injury, and injured patients should also know that they may be eligible for compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What else should you know from the report? We want to provide you with some more details about surgical errors and medical negligence claims in New Mexico.
What is a Surgical Error?
A surgical error is one type of medical mistake, and the term refers to any type of error that is made during surgery. Many surgeries certainly come with some risks, and patients can suffer serious or deadly harm during a surgical procedure. However, not all situations in which a patient has an unwanted outcome or suffers harm during the surgery result from surgical errors. In some cases, surgeons and other healthcare providers who play a role in the surgical procedure provide a high quality of care, and the patient still suffers harm due to an inherent risk in the procedure.
Differently, a surgical error is a preventable mistake that could have been avoided, and it results from a healthcare provider’s negligence during a surgical procedure.
Surgical Mistakes are the Most Common Cause of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits and Payouts
According to the Becker’s report, surgical errors account for about 57% of all medical malpractice claims, and surgical mistakes account for nearly 60% of all insurance payouts. To be clear, mistakes made during surgical procedures are both the most common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits, as well as the most common cause of payouts.
Different Types of Healthcare Providers are Responsible for Surgical Errors
It is important to know that different types of healthcare providers may be liable for surgical error injuries. According to the report, surgeons certainly can be liable for surgical errors, but other healthcare providers, including the hospital where the surgery took place, can also be held accountable. Within the general area of surgeons, many different kinds of surgeons can be responsible for surgical errors. The Becker’s report indicates that neurosurgeons tend to have the highest rate of multiple claims against them.
Many Surgical Errors Involve Surgeons With Previous Negligence Records
Many surgeons who are responsible for surgical errors have been accountable for similar medical mistakes in the past. The Becker’s report indicates that “63% of surgical claims involved a surgeon with multiple claims.”