It can be stressful enough for a patient to face surgery without adding to his or her concerns that a mistake could be made. Yet the reality is that surgical errors happen more often than many think. And they are almost always preventable.
However, knowledge can be powerful. When patients understand some of the causes of surgical mistakes, it may prevent them from becoming victims.
The first thing patients should know is that they have the right to ask questions and verify details of the procedure. The surgeon should go over the procedure, its duration, any potential risks and the expected recovery.
It doesn’t matter if this had been discussed previously in his or her office. Patients have the right to make sure they thoroughly understand what is going to take place and ask as many questions as they like.
The second thing a patient should know before having surgery is that his or her identity should be checked by every healthcare provider, even if it’s done several times. It may seem redundant, but this could prevent a patient from receiving the wrong procedure.
The third thing every patient should know is that the spot being operated on should be marked in front of him or her. This eliminates the potential for a common mistake to happen, the wrong area or side undergoing surgery. If this isn’t possible, then a family member or another person the patient trusts should be able to verify the marking.
The fourth thing is that everyone should practice good hygiene, especially medical staff. Make sure hands are being washed and the environment is clean.
Finally, patients should know that they have the right to speak up if something isn’t right. Any questions or concerns should be raised immediately. If a concern is not addressed, and it results in injuries from medical malpractice, an attorney in New York at Gacovino, Lake & Associates may be able to help.