Surgery isn’t an uncommon event for people in the United States. Almost everyone either has had some form of surgical procedure or knows of someone who has. Some of these procedures are not necessary but can lead to an enhanced quality of life. Other surgeries, however, are potentially life-saving or prevent significant disability. Some such surgeries are emergency in nature, No surgical procedure is free from the possibility of doctor errors. Recent research shows that some procedures might just be more prone to them.
According to a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), around 3 million patients are admitted to hospitals in the United States for emergency general surgery (EGS). Unfortunately, that same study also showed that of all the emergency surgeries 7 procedures account for 80% of “admissions, deaths, complications, and inpatient costs attributable to the 512,079 EGS procedures performed in the United States each year”.
Emergency General Surgery Procedures at High Risk for Doctor Errors
According to JAMA, the seven surgical procedures that are leading to such a high percentage of complications, deaths, and expenses are:
- Abdominal adhesion surgeries
- Abdominal area operations.
- Gallbladder removal
- Peptic ulcer surgeries
- Removal of part of the colon
- Small bowel resection
In any surgical procedure, there is always a risk of a bad outcome. It is important to stress that a bad outcome from a surgery does not necessarily mean the patient is a victim of medical malpractice. However, the fact that these procedures are at such high-risk for complications indicates that hospitals and doctors need to increase their focus on ways to keep their patients safe.
Whether a surgery is elective or emergency, doctors and hospitals are responsible for the safety of their patients. A bad outcome in one of the 7 types of surgical procedures highlighted by the JAMA study, may not be medical malpractice but should be reviewed by an expert in medical law to be sure. When medical professionals or institutions break the rules and do not follow the standard of care during a surgery resulting in injury or worse, victims have the right to hold them accountable.