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Preventing surgical errors requires safety guidelines

Patients who go into surgery, whether in a hospital or an outpatient center, count on the staff to ensure they are safe throughout the procedure. While many surgeries are successful and the patients don't suffer any harm, there are instances in which patients have to deal with life-threatening issues because of errors.

While people might assume that the surgical staff members are the only ones who would be liable in these cases, the hospital or surgical center can also be responsible. These entities should have protocols, policies and standards that govern the safety of patients and the actions of staff members from the initial intake through the discharge of the patient.

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Before surgery

One of the most important things that has to be done before a patient is taken for surgery is to review their surgical procedure and location. A staff member should verify this information, as well as verifying the patient's identity. In cases where that isn't possible, another staff member should take steps to ensure that the patient is the correct one and that the procedure is accurate.

During the procedure

Verifying the patient's identity and procedure again just before the surgery is essential. Each person in the operating room should have specific responsibilities and duties to perform. Accountability is important because any error can have a negative impact on the patient. Handwashing, tool and supply counting, and patient monitoring are primary concerns. Additionally, positioning the patient in such a way as to avoid nerve damage is critical.

In recovery

One primary concern for the recovery period is infection. The surgical wound must be checked frequently for signs that something is amiss. If the patient is running a fever, has abnormal blood pressure or other symptoms such as significant pain, there is chance that there is an infection or another problem.

An infection can stem from various causes, including retained surgical supplies or bacteria introduced during the procedure. Addressing these issues during the surgery might help to alleviate potential problems. If the patient is found to have an infection, prompt treatment is vital to reduce the risk of sepsis or septic shock.

Patients who suffer harm because of a surgical error must ensure they are getting the care they need to address the problems. Seeking compensation from the liable entities can reduce the financial stress placed on the patient.

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