Under the Knife: What Patients Need to Know About Surgical Errors

Updated on February 12, 2021

Whether you have to undergo surgery to improve or avoid a serious health issue or to alter your physical appearance, it is normal to be anxious before going under the knife. After all, several problems can arise during surgery. You may have an allergic reaction to anesthesia or sedation ingredients. You may also experience complications that could cause excessive post-surgery bruising or bleeding. 

If you talked to the doctor several times before surgery, researched the physician’s credentials, and read all the information about recovery you could get your hands on, the procedure will likely go as planned.

However, mistakes do occur sometimes. You need to know what type of surgical errors to look out for to keep yourself safe. Knowing what to expect will also let you know if you have a legitimate medical malpractice case and want to sue the surgeon or the hospital. 

Wrong-Site Surgeries  

Wrong-site operations occur more often than you may realize. In those situations, the doctor operates on the wrong area of your body. For instance, if you have a tumor and the surgeon is supposed to remove the tumor during your operation but removes critical tissue, this could result in additional health problems.

You could end up having another surgery before you have fully recovered from the first surgery. This could have long-term effects on your mobility and overall well-being as well.

A wrong-site surgery could also leave you without an essential organ if the surgeon removes organs like your kidneys or ovaries unnecessarily. Without a kidney, you might never be able to filter impurities from your blood properly, and without an ovary, you may soon become infertile. When your quality of life is compromised, you may be able to file a medical malpractice case. 

Wrong-Patient Operations 

While a surgeon may sometimes operate the wrong area of a person’s body, the doctor may occasionally perform a procedure on the wrong person altogether. If your medical records are mixed up with the records of another patient awaiting surgery, it could up your risk of receiving the incorrect procedure for your health issue. 

Whether you received the wrong surgery or your surgeon didn’t perform the surgery correctly, you could still face severe health consequences. If you can prove that this medical mistake has significantly impacted your life, you could be entitled to monetary compensation. 

Surgeons May Leave Objects Behind  

If you are a big fan of older movies or sitcoms, you likely saw an episode where one of the main characters has to have surgery, and the doctor leaves a foreign object in the patient’s body. It is funny to see a “surgeon” accidentally drop a watch or pair of glasses into a patient while performing an operation in a movie, but it is no longer amusing if it happens in real life, as well. 

Most of the time, surgeons may accidentally leave a surgical tool, like a piece of tubing or a scalpel, in the patient. These items may increase the patient’s risk of infection and cause severe damage to the surrounding muscles and tissue. 


If you have been affected by any of these blatant surgical errors, you should talk to a medical malpractice attorney right away. A lawyer who has experience with these types of cases will evaluate all the details of your case and let you know whether you are eligible to file a personal injury claim.

If you win the case, the funds you may receive can help you pay for proper medical treatment, and cover lost wages if you had to take time off work to recover from your injuries. Consult with a medical malpractice lawyer today for a free case evaluation. 

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