Surgeons sometimes make mistakes during surgery, and although there are safeties in place to protect patients, they don't always work. The surgeon might operate on the wrong part of your body or even operate on someone with the same or similar name as you. You might take the wrong medication, or the doctor might not give you information on what to do once you go home. That information is important; if you don't know how to take care of yourself, then you might not know what complications or problems to look for.
How can you protect yourself against surgical errors?
First, make sure that you ask your doctor all the correct questions before your surgery. Ask if there are any medicines that you shouldn't take before surgery, if you can eat or drink before the surgery takes place and any other questions you have about your safety or what to do before the surgery occurs.
Next, make sure you receive an informed consent form. This form should include information such as your name, the type of surgery you will have, the risks of the surgery and confirms that you spoke to your doctor about any questions you have.
Before your surgery takes place, a health care professional will mark the spot where the surgery will occur. If it doesn't seem like this is in the correct place on your body, you can speak up and say so. If the surgeon or a nurse accidentally marked more than one location, make sure the incorrect location is erased completely before the surgery. Another thing your surgeon should do is called a "time out." This is just a short pause before the surgery that make sure the surgeon is working on the correct patient and performing the correct surgery on the right body part.
If you're still hurt despite taking steps to prevent injury, you may have a medical malpractice case. Our website has more information on what you can do next.