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Medical Malpractice Claims: Outpatient Surgical Errors

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

With advances in technology, procedures that once required a potentially lengthy stay in the hospital can now be performed in a matter of hours in an outpatient surgical setting. These facilities offer patients the convenience of being able to recuperate at home with their loved ones, while also saving them money in terms of hospital costs. Unfortunately, while your doctor may recommend outpatient surgery with complete confidence in the facility’s ability to provide for your safety and care, you could be facing an increased risk of surgical mistakes and errors.

Common Outpatient Procedures

Outpatient surgical centers have become increasingly common throughout the United States, offering a faster, more convenient, and less expensive way of having procedures done that were once performed only in a hospital. According to Health Grades, a consumer advocacy group for health information and services, the number of procedures performed in these facilities has tripled over the last 30 years. Today, there are more than 50 million outpatient procedures performed each year. Health Grades lists the following as being among the most common types of procedures performed in outpatient surgical settings:

  • Muscle, tendon, and nerve damage repairs
  • Small repairs to joints in the hands, arms, and wrists
  • Repairs to cartilage in the knees
  • Abdominal and hernia repairs
  • Gallbladder operations
  • Lumpectomies
  • Cataract surgeries
  • Ear, nose and throat procedures

Risk of Surgical Errors and Mistakes

While the above may be considered minor, routine procedures, having them performed in an outpatient surgical center can put you at an increased risk for surgical errors and mistakes. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), surgical errors have become increasingly common in the U.S., and roughly half of all incidences involving these errors occur outside of traditional operating rooms. Common types of surgical errors include:

  • Wrong site errors, such as operating on the left knee instead of the right
  • Wrong procedure errors, such as replacing a joint when a repair was all that was called for
  • Wrong patient errors, in which a procedure required by one person is inadvertently performed on the wrong patient

The AHRQ states that the root causes of many of these errors include poor communication, as well as a lack of oversight. Surgical infections and problems with anesthesia are also common errors associated with surgical procedures, but these risks can actually be lower in an outpatient setting as opposed to an actual hospital.

Consumer Reports advises patients who plan to use an outpatient surgical center to ask questions regarding how the center is accredited, how much experience the doctors and staff have, and what affiliations they have with any local hospitals. In addition, Consumer Reports recommends that people with certain health conditions should only receive treatment in a hospital setting, such as those with bleeding issues, heart disease, breathing problems, or uncontrolled diabetes.

Let Us Assist You with Your Case

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or complications due to a surgical error or mistake, contact Anastopoulo South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys today. We can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable for the damages they have caused and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.

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North Charleston, SC

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North Charleston, SC 29406
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Florence, SC 29501
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