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How surgical errors can alter your health and life

One expectation that many patients have is for their surgeons and physicians to inform them about mistakes that occur during before, during and after their procedures that may affect them. Surgical errors affect many people in Austin and across the country. Surgeons, physicians, nurses and other surgical health care professionals do not always disclose their negligent actions to patients, although the law require them to. 

The medical industry refers to surgical errors as never-events because they should not occur. Surgical mistakes often have profound consequences for patients. Besides the risk of infection, surgical complications, organ and brain damage, and other life- and health-altering complications, victims and their families are often left with substantial medical expenses. Here is a brief rundown on the dangers of surgical errors. 

Signs of potential surgical mistakes 

Patients who experience sharp pains, fever and chills, pain when urinating, inflammation and swelling of the surgical site and surrounding areas, and vomiting should seek immediate medical attention. Some symptoms may seem normal after a surgical procedure. They may also indicate infection or something more serious. 

Impact of surgical errors on patients 

Not all surgical error victims experience issues with their health. Most surgical operations are uneventful, and patients have recoveries that progress as expected. When medical professionals make mistakes, patients often experience unexpected and uncommon side effects that can cause severe injury, permanent damage and death. 

For example, patients who develop infections after surgery require timely treatment to prevent adverse health problems. Some of them assume the symptoms are normal, causing a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Other individuals notify their surgeons right away only to end up experiencing severe complications because their doctors dismissed and failed to diagnose them. Infections that commonly occur from surgical errors include the use of nonsterile medical instruments and not properly treating, suturing and cleaning surgical incision sites. 

Surgical errors can occur anytime during the preoperative, operative and post-operative stage of invasive procedures. Nurses, anesthesiologists and surgical techs often make mistakes that affect patient outcomes. They have lives outside of work and may seem more occupied with personal matters instead of being fully attentive to their patients. Also, miscommunication, staffing problems, fatigue and failure to follow protocol often play a role when medical professionals make mistakes.

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