A surgical operation is perhaps the most invasive type of medical procedure that someone can undergo. Surgeons can remove a part of the body, repair damaged tissue or even implant a device or tissue from someone else. Any of those procedures can have a dramatic impact on someone’s quality of life and their overall health.
Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong during surgery despite all of the training provided to surgeons and the very rigorous standards applied to modern operating rooms. Issues can arise during any procedure, but certain types of surgery have a stronger association with medical errors.
Abdominal procedures present numerous opportunities for things to go wrong. For example, because of the large cavity the doctor will access, the possibility of a patient retaining foreign objects is much higher than it would be doing a procedure on the head or on one of someone’s limbs. The risk of a wrong procedure mistake or wrong patient error is also higher when each patient will not undergo a procedure on a different body part but will instead require surgery on their torso. Many of the procedures with the highest error and revision rates are abdominal surgeries.
Experimental and elective surgeries
Surgeons performing triple bypass procedures and other treatment-related surgeries are often subject to very strict standards enforced by the hospitals that employ them. The same is not necessarily true for those maintaining a standalone surgical practice, as is often the case for those that off to elective surgeries, like cosmetic surgery. The lack of oversight might increase the risk of medical mistakes during an operation. Experimental procedures are also particularly risky because of how little research has been done on them thus far. Patients may have a harder time seeking justice after an experimental procedure as well, in part because they will likely have waived their right to sue.
Although things can go wrong during just about any surgical procedure, abdominal surgeries and elective or experimental operations are among the highest-risk surgeries a patient can experience. Recognizing when one may be at elevated risk of an unfavorable medical outcome can help a patient to better advocate for their and understand when they may need to take legal action as a result of a medical mistake.