Mistakes during surgery happen, even though both patients and doctors wish they never did. But when a mistake does in fact occur, the doctors and medical facilities involved have a responsibility to disclose the mistake to the patient and supervising boards. One Pennsylvania medical center is being reprimanded for failing to follow proper procedures and report a mistake that happened in surgery, and Philadelphia surgical errors attorneys are taking notice.
During a surgery on a 78-year-old woman, a medical professional accidentally nicked the woman’s bladder, causing the surgery to come to a halt and a catheter to be inserted. The medical center reported the incident to the hospital’s legal department, but it failed to report it to the state health department as required.
Any unexpected injury to a patient is considered a “serious event” by Pennsylvania law, and such incidents must be reported. The medical center mistakenly documented the surgical nick as a complication of the surgery rather than a serious event.
Accidents do happen, but the follow-up protocols are designed to help remedy mistakes that have already occurred and prevent future mistakes. Attention drawn to the error in reporting has helped to make the medical centers reporting procedures more accurate for future patients, potentially reducing the incidence of surgical mistakes.
Someone who has suffered an unexpected injury during surgery may be able to recover financial damages for their bills and prolonged suffering, especially if the hospital in question failed to follow proper protocols. Whether the omission was intentional or accidental, medical procedures, including paperwork, are crucial to the most effective healthcare.
Source: The Patriot-News, “Carlisle Regional faulted for failing to report surgical injury,” David Wenner, Feb. 28, 2013