background image
unless it is an emergency, life-saving necessity...
it is very important to get a qualified, non-cookie
cutter second opinion by a specialist from another
medical facility (if possible--some patients in
rural areas don't have much choice). Not only are
different procedures available through different
surgeons, but different medical facilities have
different equipment at their disposal.
h
ow
often
do
SurGiCal
errorS
oCCur
?
"More than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur in
surgery every year at a cost of more than $1.3 billion
in medical malpractice payouts, according a new
study. How preventable? Well, researchers call them
`never events' because they are the kind of surgical
mistakes that should never happen, like performing
the wrong procedure or leaving a sponge inside a
patient's body after surgery. Their analysis estimates
that each week surgeons: Leave a foreign object like
a sponge or towel inside a patient's body after an
operation 39 times; Perform the wrong procedure
on a patient 20 times; Operate on the wrong body
site 20 times." ~WebMD, Thousands of Mistakes
Made in Surgery Every Year by Jennifer Warner
You might believe that surgical errors
happen more often during complex operations,
such as brain, heart or spinal surgery. Actually,
errors often occur in the most frequently performed
operations. The most common types of surgical
errors are:
Foreign objects left in the patient's body.
Surgeons can leave scalpels, pads, gauze or
clamps in the bodies of their patients, which
causes extreme pain, severe infections, or even
death. Sadly, a standard materials checklist
could stop this. While some pain is normal
after surgery, if you experience what you feel
is excessive, unchecked pain, call your surgeon
immediately.
Wrong patient surgery. Various factors can
cause this surgical error, including a lack of
preoperative verification, miscommunication
between surgeons, and insufficient hospital
protocol.
Wrong site surgery. Imagine having the wrong
kidney removed, or even the wrong leg!
Anesthesia errors. Anesthesia mix-ups are the
most frequent cause of deadly surgical errors.
If too much anesthesia is administered, it cause
respiratory arrest--the patient can get too little
oxygen, which can cause brain damage and
death. If an insufficient amount of anesthesia
is given, the patient might awaken during the
operation and experience tremendous pain.
Nerve damage. A tiny slip of the scalpel can
cause anything from a punctured colon to a
damaged nerve, which can lead to a lifetime of
infection, pain and disability.
Definition of OPINION: "A belief or judgment that
rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete
certainty." ~ Dictionary.com
When a doctor sits across the desk from
you with a new diagnosis, that is the first opinion.
We tend to believe that there is no other option--
especially if we are told that is the case. We want the
problem solved and relief as soon as we can get it.
By accepting that without further information, you
may be betting your quality of life on it.
As a cancer advocate for over a decade, I
have seen many walking miracles. These are men,
women and children who met with their original
oncologist and were told that they were not going
to live to see another birthday. In fact, with cancer,
we have a tendency to feel that we need to get the
offensive tumor out of our body as soon as possible.
I know many breast cancer survivors--especially
young women--who ask for double mastectomies
when meeting with a breast surgeon...believing
that removing their breasts will prevent the cancer
from ever coming back. That is not necessarily the
case, however, while there is nothing wrong with
this (it is your body), there can be complications
with mastectomies and breast reconstructions.
Along with pain, fear is a powerful motivator.
When one of my cousins was recently
diagnosed with breast cancer, she met with