Every surgical procedure comes with some measure of risk. Some procedures come with the possibility of complications and even death. Before the day of a procedure, you will sign forms indicating that you know the risks and understand them. However, while you may accept a medical risk, you do not expect a medical mistake. Every day, medical professionals make errors that affect patients in serious ways.

Doctors and Surgeons Make Mistakes

With all their training, doctors are still human. They will make mistakes, some big and some small. Yet, when a doctor makes a mistake, it can cause pain and suffering to the patient. A doctor might accidentally do a knee replacement on the wrong knee. This will result in an extra procedure and additional recovery time. Worse than a careless mistake is a doctor whose intentional behavior creates a problem. For example, a surgeon who operates under the influence of alcohol is creating a dangerous situation by choice. “Medical malpractice refers to both accidental and intentional errors in surgery,” according to Boohoff Law.

How to Prevent It

Preventing mistakes requires the work of both patients and doctors. For patients, it is important to do research about your procedure, the facility where it is happening and the doctor performing it. You can easily find information about the reputations of doctors and medical facilities online. If either has a history of malpractice, it is best to stay away. On the day of your procedure, be sure to communicate with the staff about the procedure you are having. One of the most common medical errors is a patient getting the wrong procedure due to a switched chart. For doctors, it is important to recognize their fallibility. Some surgical units have developed checklists for procedures like airline pilots before takeoff. Using a procedural checklist means that small details will not be overlooked.

What If It Happens to Me?

If you believe that you have been injured due to medical malpractice, it is important that you notify your insurance company and retain a lawyer who specializes in the field. An experienced lawyer will be able to tell you if your injuries fall into the normal risks of a procedure or if they are due to a medical mistake. You should be compensated for pain, suffering and lost time due to a doctor’s error.


When you go for a medical procedure, you are putting yourself in a doctor’s hands, especially in surgery under full anesthesia. It is frightening to consider the possibility that you could wake up in worse shape than before the procedure. Doctors and patients need to work together to prevent medical mistakes.