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Why do most surgical errors occur?

Avoidable mistakes during surgery are unfortunate occurrences, with thousands of cases reported each year in the United States. The path to recovery can be long and difficult for the affected patients. Sometimes, it means dealing with the aftermath for the rest of their lives.

Surgical errors, like other forms of medical malpractice, stem from many factors. This makes it difficult to tie these incidents to one specific reason. However, negligence is a unifying factor in all cases, as explained below.

Gaps in communication

Surgery consists of several parties who all need to work in tandem. If there is a communication breakdown between the surgeon, anesthesiologist and other ancillary staff, things can go wrong. Wrong-site amputations or even making unnecessary incisions are some of the many mistakes that can happen due to communication gaps.


Hospital staff are at times overstretched, working for long hours without breaks. It can scratch their limits and make it easy to make avoidable mistakes. For instance, a surgeon may forget a surgical instrument or a bandage when stitching up a patient if they are too tired to function optimally.

Poor post-operative care

The days, weeks or even months after a surgical operation are crucial to a patient’s health. During this period, post-surgery complications like excessive bleeding or a life-threatening infection can occur. If healthcare providers are not vigilant or fail to monitor a patient after surgery, it can amount to malpractice.

Drugs and alcohol

While uncommon, healthcare providers who use intoxicating substances on the job pose a significant danger to the health and safety of patients. The slightest blunder in the theater can cause life-changing injuries, and when the stakes are so high, there is no room for slip-ups. 

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. However, you must present a solid case to help ensure you get a deserving settlement. Seeking legal assistance can help you understand how everything works, the evidence you need and how to protect your interests.