Surgical Errors

Posted: February 4, 2017 | Last Updated: February 12, 2017

Like any other malpractice, a surgeon may be responsible for harm he or she caused by an unreasonable error.

What are Surgical Errors?

Surgical errors are preventable mistakes.  Although some errors result directly from a surgeon’s incompetence, most surgical errors result from poor preoperative planning or inadequate procedures.

Despite our advances in medicine, tens of thousands of patients suffer from surgical errors every year in American hospitals. A 1999 study from the Institute of Medicine estimated that medical, including surgical errors, affect 44,000 to 98,000 patients per year.

Examples of Surgical Errors

Examples of surgical errors include:

  • Incorrect Incision Placement
  • Nerve Damage (including transecting or cutting a nerve and stretching a nerve with retractors)
  • Wrong Site Surgery
  • Wrong Patient Surgery
  • Anesthesiology Injuries
  • Lack of Informed Consent

What are the Causes of Surgical Errors?

The most common causes of surgical errors include:

Inadequate Preoperative Planning:

Before performing surgery, medical staff must confirm that the patient is healthy enough to undergo surgery, must weigh the risks and benefits of a particular surgery for a particular patient, and must obtain a complete medical history, including identifying any reactions to medications.


Before surgery is performed, medical staff must identify the correct patient and correctly mark the correct site for surgery.  There are still occasions where surgery is performed on the wrong patient, the wrong side of a patient’s body, or the patient is draped in cloth before the surgeon sees the patient resulting in placement of the incision in a different than anticipated location.

A surgeon must inform himself of all issues major issues impacting the surgery.  These include the patient’s medical history and reactions to any medications.

Medical staff must account for all surgical equipment after a procedure.  Surgical sponges or other equipment sometimes do end up in a patient’s body cavity after a surgery is concluded.


Surgeons and surgery staff are often required to work long or unusual hours or perform multiple surgeries back-to-back during a given time period.  The fatigue associated with these schedules has caused surgeons and staff to lose concentration and make needless errors.  Surgeons and staff have, on occasions, been known to be intoxicated or to have taken drugs to stay alert, impairing their judgment.


Surgeons are required to undergo years of training.  However, not all surgeons possess the same level of skill or competence.  Also, surgeon may be competent in one area of surgery they perform on a regular basis, but may not be competent in another area of surgery he has never performed before or has only performed on a few occasions.

How do I Hire You to be my Ohio Surgical Errors Lawyer?

The first thing to do is complete the contact form at the bottom of this page. That way, you can put in details that we can review before we schedule a phone call.

You can also call us at 216-777-8856 if you prefer.

You will likely not speak to us immediately, but will schedule a phone or in-person meeting. Why? Because we’re busy working on the important cases other families have entrusted to us. Just like we would not constantly take phone calls when we’re entrusted to work on your case.

You should also gather all the records and papers you have from the medical providers, go back and look for dates, names, and events that happened, and otherwise prepare to discuss the case. We’ll have a meeting and, if it seems like a case we’d be a good fit for, we’ll move into an investigation phase.

Once we’ve investigated, we’ll candidly tell you what we think about what happened, whether the medical provider is to blame, and what we think about the strength of the case.

Fair warning: we only take on clients whose cases we believe have very strong merits. We’re not lazy—the cases are still very complex, difficult, and expensive—but the risk to your family of being drawn into a difficult process with little chance of a positive outcome is not something we do.

Which means when we do take on a case, our reputation tells the other side this is a serious case we believe in.

If for whatever reason we do not take on the case, and we think there is some merit to the case, we’ll try and help you find a lawyer who might take it on.

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