Common Surgical Mistakes That Can Turn into Nasty Claims

Common Surgical Mistakes That Can Turn into Nasty Claims

Common Surgical Mistakes That Can Turn into Nasty Claims

18 Nov 2021

Studies into surgical errors in the UK have been conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). One of these studies highlighted that the UK has 5.5 cases of surgical errors per 100,000 patients discharged from hospital.

The UK also has a large record of “never events” – which are incidents that are so bad that they should never happen again due to processes put in place to prevent them. These can range drastically from biopsy of the incorrect body part to retained foreign object post procedure whatever, the severity they all can have serious consequences for both the patient and medical professional.

During 2020 the UK has had more than 300 never events. In 2021 with the impacts of the pandemic on services and the workforce still in place, we have seen more than 250, totalling 550 never events over 2 years!

We want you to understand the most common exposures so that you can attempt to avoid them, using figures from NHS data showing their occurrence between April and September 2021.

Anaesthetic Errors

Anaesthetics play a huge role in patient safety and surgical practice. Anaesthesiologists must ensure all relevant information on the patient is available. Example of anaesthesia errors include:

  • Doctors administering too much anesthesia.

  • Doctors administering too little anesthesia, resulting in anesthesia awareness (a patient being unable to speak or communicate but feeling pain).

  • Doctors delaying the delivery of anesthesia.

  • Doctors failing to prevent or recognize adverse drug reactions caused by interactions between anesthesia and certain medications.

  • Doctors administering the wrong type of anesthesia.

  • Doctors failing to determine if a patient is allergic to anesthesia or accidentally administering an anesthesia medication the patient is allergic to.

  • Doctors failing to provide proper instructions to patients before administering anesthesia.

  • Doctors failing to properly monitor the patient during a surgical procedure in which the patient is under anesthesia.Doctors failing to consider the effects patient positioning may have on the patient's blood pressure, and the blood supply to the patient's brain (for example, in "beach chair position").Defective equipment or medical devices used during anesthesia.

Foreign Objects left after a surgery

As uncommon as you’d expect this to be, data indicates there were 45 incidents this year. With objects ranging in size, it is important to ensure that all necessary checks of equipment are completed prior to surgery completion. Examples of foreign objects that are left after surgery include:

  • Catheters Clamps

  • Cotton swabs

  • Gauze pads

  • Needles Pins

  • Retractors

  • Scissors

  • Surgical sponges

  • Towels Wires

Incorrect Patient or Body Part

78 patients were affected by this type of negligence in the time period. Although rare, wrong-site surgery is a serious risk identified within the UK, especially with the increase in the number of surgical procedures being conducted.

Health care organisations in a variety of settings, from small to large must manage the risks of wrong-site surgery to ensure the safety of patients. Preventing wrong-site surgery (which includes wrong-patient, wrong-procedure and wrong- side surgeries) is accomplished by creating a culture of safety and improving perioperative processes. These may include:

Scheduling - During the scheduling of surgeries—whether the process is done verbally by phone, manually by paper or fax, or electronically by websites or emails—several factors were found to contribute to the risk of wrong-site surgery.

Pre-op procedures - Pre-op defects include inconsistent use of site-marking protocol, marks made with unapproved surgical- site markers, and inadequate patient verification.

Operating Room - Operating-room defects include distractions and rushing during time-outs. Defects occur when the time-out is performed without full participation or if there is an ineffective hand-off communication or briefing process.

Organisational errors - Organisational culture defects include senior leadership that is not actively engaged, staff that is passive or not empowered to speak up, and policy changes made without adequate or consistent staff education.

If you find yourself uncovered for the medical errors you are most at risk of in your line of medical profession, we offer over the phone consultations and silent reviews to best outline where you are covered and where you are exposed to negligent claims.

For more information regarding silent reviews, or risk management advice regarding medical mistakes, surgical errors and emergency room errors, please contact us via call on 0207 8469010 or the email info@servca.com.

Please note that this article is intended to serve as value-adding information, and you should consult with a professional when taking steps in arranging Medical Error protection.

Explore our resources & guides

We’ve boiled down our expertise into guides and articles to help you get to grips with everything to do with healthcare insurance, risk management and professional indemnity.

The UK also has a large record of “never events” – which are incidents that are so bad that they should never happen again due to processes put in place to prevent them. These can range drastically from biopsy of the incorrect body part to retained foreign object post procedure whatever, the severity they all can have serious consequences for both the patient and medical professional.

During 2020 the UK has had more than 300 never events. In 2021 with the impacts of the pandemic on services and the workforce still in place, we have seen more than 250, totalling 550 never events over 2 years!

We want you to understand the most common exposures so that you can attempt to avoid them, using figures from NHS data showing their occurrence between April and September 2021.

Anaesthetic Errors

Anaesthetics play a huge role in patient safety and surgical practice. Anaesthesiologists must ensure all relevant information on the patient is available. Example of anaesthesia errors include:

  • Doctors administering too much anesthesia.

  • Doctors administering too little anesthesia, resulting in anesthesia awareness (a patient being unable to speak or communicate but feeling pain).

  • Doctors delaying the delivery of anesthesia.

  • Doctors failing to prevent or recognize adverse drug reactions caused by interactions between anesthesia and certain medications.

  • Doctors administering the wrong type of anesthesia.

  • Doctors failing to determine if a patient is allergic to anesthesia or accidentally administering an anesthesia medication the patient is allergic to.

  • Doctors failing to provide proper instructions to patients before administering anesthesia.

  • Doctors failing to properly monitor the patient during a surgical procedure in which the patient is under anesthesia.Doctors failing to consider the effects patient positioning may have on the patient's blood pressure, and the blood supply to the patient's brain (for example, in "beach chair position").Defective equipment or medical devices used during anesthesia.

Foreign Objects left after a surgery

As uncommon as you’d expect this to be, data indicates there were 45 incidents this year. With objects ranging in size, it is important to ensure that all necessary checks of equipment are completed prior to surgery completion. Examples of foreign objects that are left after surgery include:

  • Catheters Clamps

  • Cotton swabs

  • Gauze pads

  • Needles Pins

  • Retractors

  • Scissors

  • Surgical sponges

  • Towels Wires

Incorrect Patient or Body Part

78 patients were affected by this type of negligence in the time period. Although rare, wrong-site surgery is a serious risk identified within the UK, especially with the increase in the number of surgical procedures being conducted.

Health care organisations in a variety of settings, from small to large must manage the risks of wrong-site surgery to ensure the safety of patients. Preventing wrong-site surgery (which includes wrong-patient, wrong-procedure and wrong- side surgeries) is accomplished by creating a culture of safety and improving perioperative processes. These may include:

Scheduling - During the scheduling of surgeries—whether the process is done verbally by phone, manually by paper or fax, or electronically by websites or emails—several factors were found to contribute to the risk of wrong-site surgery.

Pre-op procedures - Pre-op defects include inconsistent use of site-marking protocol, marks made with unapproved surgical- site markers, and inadequate patient verification.

Operating Room - Operating-room defects include distractions and rushing during time-outs. Defects occur when the time-out is performed without full participation or if there is an ineffective hand-off communication or briefing process.

Organisational errors - Organisational culture defects include senior leadership that is not actively engaged, staff that is passive or not empowered to speak up, and policy changes made without adequate or consistent staff education.

If you find yourself uncovered for the medical errors you are most at risk of in your line of medical profession, we offer over the phone consultations and silent reviews to best outline where you are covered and where you are exposed to negligent claims.

For more information regarding silent reviews, or risk management advice regarding medical mistakes, surgical errors and emergency room errors, please contact us via call on 0207 8469010 or the email info@servca.com.

Please note that this article is intended to serve as value-adding information, and you should consult with a professional when taking steps in arranging Medical Error protection.

Explore our resources & guides

We’ve boiled down our expertise into guides and articles to help you get to grips with everything to do with healthcare insurance, risk management and professional indemnity.

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Servca Group Ltd is a private limited company registered in England and Wales; Registered Number: 7727494; Registered Office: Dukes House, 32-38 Dukes Place, 5th Floor, London, EC3A 7LP, United Kingdom. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Servca European Insurance Brokers Ltd (a private limited company incorporated in Malta and enrolled to act as an insurance broker); Tower Business Centre, Level 3, Tower Street, Swatar, BKR, 4013, Republic of Malta. UK branch office is registered in England and Wales, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Servca Canada Insurance Group Inc, a private limited company incorporated at 40 King Street West, Suite 2100, Toronto, M5H 3C2, Canada. Servca group of companies are owned and operated by Servca Group Holdings Ltd, a private limited company registered in England & Wales.

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Global Headquarters

Servca Group

Dukes House

32-38 Dukes Place

5th Floor

London, EC3A 7LP

United Kingdom


+44 (0) 207 2250000

info@servca.com


Broker at Lloyd’s SLM1389

European Office

Servca Europe

Dragonara Business Centre

Dragonara Road

5th Floor

St Julian’s, STJ 3141

Republic of Malta


+356 (20) 341690

eu@servca.com


Broker at Lloyd’s (Brussels) SLM1883

Canadian Office

Servca Canada Insurance Group Inc
40 King Street West
Suite 2100
Toronto
M5H 3C2
Canada


+1 (647) 846 5555

canada@servca.com


Non-regulated servicing company

Northern Ireland

Servca Northern Ireland
River House Belfast

48-60 High Street

Belfast

BT1 2BE



+44 (0) 2895582000

ni@servca.com


Broker at Lloyd’s SLM1389

© 2024 Servca


Servca Group Ltd is a private limited company registered in England and Wales; Registered Number: 7727494; Registered Office: Dukes House, 32-38 Dukes Place, 5th Floor, London, EC3A 7LP, United Kingdom. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Servca European Insurance Brokers Ltd (a private limited company incorporated in Malta and enrolled to act as an insurance broker); Tower Business Centre, Level 3, Tower Street, Swatar, BKR, 4013, Republic of Malta. UK branch office is registered in England and Wales, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Servca Canada Insurance Group Inc, a private limited company incorporated at 40 King Street West, Suite 2100, Toronto, M5H 3C2, Canada. Servca group of companies are owned and operated by Servca Group Holdings Ltd, a private limited company registered in England & Wales.

Privacy Policy

Cookies

Global Headquarters

Servca Group

Dukes House

32-38 Dukes Place

5th Floor

London, EC3A 7LP

United Kingdom


+44 (0) 207 2250000

info@servca.com


Broker at Lloyd’s SLM1389

European Office

Servca Europe

Dragonara Business Centre

Dragonara Road

5th Floor

St Julian’s, STJ 3141

Republic of Malta


+356 (20) 341690

eu@servca.com


Broker at Lloyd’s (Brussels) SLM1883

Canadian Office

Servca Canada Insurance Group Inc
40 King Street West
Suite 2100
Toronto
M5H 3C2
Canada


+1 (647) 846 5555

canada@servca.com


Non-regulated servicing company

Northern Ireland

Servca Northern Ireland
River House Belfast

48-60 High Street

Belfast

BT1 2BE


+44 (0) 2895582000

ni@servca.com


Broker at Lloyd’s SLM1389

© 2024 Servca


Servca Group Ltd is a private limited company registered in England and Wales; Registered Number: 7727494; Registered Office: Dukes House, 32-38 Dukes Place, 5th Floor, London, EC3A 7LP, United Kingdom. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Servca European Insurance Brokers Ltd (a private limited company incorporated in Malta and enrolled to act as an insurance broker); Tower Business Centre, Level 3, Tower Street, Swatar, BKR, 4013, Republic of Malta. UK branch office is registered in England and Wales, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Servca Canada Insurance Group Inc, a private limited company incorporated at 40 King Street West, Suite 2100, Toronto, M5H 3C2, Canada. Servca group of companies are owned and operated by Servca Group Holdings Ltd, a private limited company registered in England & Wales.

Privacy Policy

Cookies