Do Surgeons Make More Errors on Their Birthdays?
Surgical mistakes can be harmful to patients, often resulting in preventable complications, the need for future surgeries, or even death. There are many reasons why such errors happen in the operating room, including a lack of communication between surgical teams, fatigue, carelessness, and more.
Distraction is also a common cause of surgical mistakes, and this includes distractions due to personal events in the surgeon’s life. A recent study examined whether surgical outcome may be affected by performance of the surgery on the surgeon’s birthday.
Researchers evaluated the 30-day mortality of patients with similar characteristics, some of whom underwent surgery performed on the surgeon’s birthday. Out of 978,812 surgeries, 2,064 were on the surgeon’s birthday, and the following was discovered:
- Seven percent of patients died within 30 days if their surgery was on their surgeon’s birthday
- 5.6 percent of patients died within 30 days after surgery on a non-birthday
While the numbers seem close, there was, in fact, a greater risk of patient death following a procedure on the surgeon’s birthday.
When operating on their birthdays, surgeons might have their minds wander, thinking about plans later that evening, parties, and other upcoming celebratory events. There are also many other life events and factors that can distract a surgeon, including:
- Other major holidays
- Upcoming travel
- Personal stress, such as a pending divorce or other trouble at home
- Research projects or other complex medical cases they are working on
- Financial issues
- Substance abuse problems
When a surgeon is distracted, both their own performance and their leadership of the surgical team can be affected. This can result in major errors, such as:
- Failing to account for particular risks of the patient
- Performing the wrong procedure
- Performing a procedure on the wrong body part
- Misdirection of the team
- Skipping an important surgical step
- Rushing the surgery and possibly damaging a nerve or an organ
- Leaving surgical sponges or other instruments inside the patient
- Inadequate post-operative care
The above can lead to additional medical problems for the patient, who might need additional hospitalization, subsequent surgeries, and longer recovery time. This can significantly increase medical costs, time away from work and lost income, and more.
Financial Recovery After Surgical Errors
Many surgical errors rise to the level of medical malpractice, which means the surgeon did not provide the standard of care expected of surgeons in that specialty and situation. When such errors result in significant injury, the patient may file a medical malpractice claim to make up for all the resulting harms and losses. In such situations, it is critical to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluate the cause of the surgical injuries and take legal action if appropriate.
If you have suffered a serious injury from surgical negligence, your attorney can investigate the matter and file suit to obtain compensation for all of your losses, which include medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent impairment, and more.
Let Our Skilled Ohio Medical Malpractice Attorneys Help You
The Eisen Law Firm handles complex injury claims stemming from surgical errors. Regardless of when the surgical error occurred, we’d like to make sure your next birthday is a happy one. Contact us online or call 216-687-0900 to discuss how our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers can assist in your situation.