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Common errors made during surgery

A Pennsylvanian resident going into surgery will likely be briefed on all of the potential outcomes of their procedure. This can include both the ideal scenarios in which everything goes well, and the less desirable ones in which some things go wrong.

Surgical errors tend to make up a portion of issues in the category of things going wrong, though it isn’t something that is commonly discussed. The Patient Safety Network has stated that a common surgical error is “wrong-procedure surgery”. What is this, exactly? Simply put, it’s the wrong procedure being performed on a patient, whether that means an entirely different procedure or simply operating on the wrong area. For example, if a patient goes in for surgery on their left knee and the procedure is accidentally carried out on the right knee, this is considered a wrong-procedure surgery.

It has also been reported by WebMD that other common errors can include surgeon-related surgery complications, either from accidents made during the surgery like the puncture of nearby organs, or even leaving items in the patient. Common items left behind after a surgery include cloths, cotton swabs, or sponges, though there have been reported cases of medical equipment like surgical shears being left behind as well.

On a whole, surgical errors are not massively common. Most of the issues, such as items being left in the surgery site, are also easily reversible and fixed. However, a patient will likely wish to be informed about all of these possibilities before going under, even if they aren't likely to occur.

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