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What Types of Surgical Errors Fall Under Medical Malpractice?


Surgery is always a risk, and most doctors emphasize this to their patients before the procedure. A lot can go wrong in even the simplest of surgeries. Even if everything goes right, there is always the risk that the body may respond in an unexpected manner.

However, many people have seen injury far beyond the typical risk of surgery. There are times when a person’s injury is caused by medical malpractice in the form of a surgical error.

A surgical error is any preventable mistake that occurs during surgery. The key word in this definition is “preventable.” Every person’s body is different, and sometimes this leads to mistakes, but it is not considered a surgical error unless it could have been prevented. Surgical errors reach beyond the usual risk of surgery and can have life-altering effects. While most of these errors are similar in nature and liability, there are many different ways these errors may appear in a surgical situation:

Insufficient Preparation


The surgical team’s responsibilities begin before the actual surgery. It is essential that the patient, the surgeon, and anyone else in the surgical room be completely prepared. This includes determining what complications might occur and how the team will respond, the organization of any tools, and the prepping of the patient for the procedure. Every step in the preparatory process for a surgery is essential and can lead to disastrous outcomes if not followed.



Doctors go through years of school, clinical rotations, and training so that they may enter the medical field with a significant amount of experience in their field of choice. However, if a doctor who lacks the necessary amount of experience operates on a patient without adequate supervision, the patient is at risk. Not only might the doctor perform the surgery incorrectly, but he also might not know how to properly respond if something goes wrong.

Poor Communication


Communication is essential in the medical field, especially with all of the terminology that might confuse the patient or the family. It is important that the medical staff communicates effectively with the patient, but most of all, it is important that they communicate effectively with each other. Many surgical errors occur because of lack of communication. One common example would be when a doctor operates on the wrong limb or organ. If the surgical site or tools are marked incorrectly, the wrong surgery may occur. This can, naturally, lead to many medical issues far beyond the original problem.

Taking Shortcuts


The medical field has many regulations and procedures. At times these may seem tedious or unnecessary, but it is important to note that experts have researched each segment of this field for years, and every regulation has a reason. If a doctor decides to skip a step, he could be putting the patient’s life in danger.

Fatigue, Drugs, and Alcohol


Many people understand why a doctor might be tired after standing up in surgery all day. However, your surgeon should never perform a surgery if she is too tired to do so. Surgeons also cannot perform surgery under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The effects of fatigue, drugs, or alcohol on a surgeon are often similar: poor cognitive functioning, loss of fine motor skills, etc. A doctor should never enter a surgical room without a completely clear and rested mind.

Help from an Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Surgery has enough risks involved without careless mistakes being made. If your life was altered by a surgical error, you could be entitled to compensation. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.