Washington DC and Maryland Surgical Errors Medical Malpractice Law Firm

Our firm has successfully obtained fair results for our clients who have suffered a medical injury due to a surgical error.

A patient trusts a surgeon to perform an operation with great care and skill. We envision surgeons surrounded by equally talented nurses, doctors and other medical personnel. And we expect the hospital has put in place safeguards and protocols that ensure no mistakes are made during surgery and which gives the patient a high expectation of improvement.


Many surgical errors should never occur and are correctly referred to as “never events.”  A “never event” is an error that should never occur and it is a term specially used by health and safety organizations in order to prevent mistakes.  When a “never event” occurs it signifies that a hospital has serious safety problems and has failed to implement the most basic prevention techniques. 

For example, we define some surgical errors as “wrong-site.” This occurs when surgery takes place in a part of your body not designated for surgery, such as surgery on your left leg instead of your right leg. This type of surgical error is easily preventable but has in fact occurred many times.

Why Do “Wrong-Site” Errors Happen?

Errors that contribute to wrong site surgery include a failure to correctly document basic information and a failure to verify critical information. In addition, medical staff that is inexplicably distracted is sometimes the cause of these errors, as are inconsistent markings at the surgical location. Too often, a poor safety culture is the root cause of negligence and errors.

To prevent mistakes, the idea of a surgical “timeout” is strongly encouraged.  A timeout improves communication in the operating room among surgeons, doctors, nurses and all personnel in order to avoid injury to the patient. The timeout is an actual planned pause before surgery or some other procedure begins. During the timeout, all present specifically review the procedure and verify important information.

Timeouts were originally used just for surgeries. However, they are now regularly required before any invasive procedure.

What Are “Wrong-Procedure” Errors?

“Wrong-procedure” errors are also “never-events” and are discovered when a patient wakes up to find out that he has no appendix rather than successfully recovering from a planned gall bladder surgery. These egregious errors occur when a hospital or surgeon inexplicably perform an operation while failing to establish simple to follow and detailed safety protocols.

Root Cause Analysis: Preventing Surgical Errors and Never Events

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a specifically defined method by which hospitals study and analyze never events and surgical errors. When hospitals undertake an RCA they attempt to focus on underlying problems that are the basis for medical negligence. This way, an effort is made to avoid focusing so much attention on individual employee mistakes and rather on the structures and rules that created an atmosphere where negligence could occur.

What Have Doctors and Hospitals Learned To Prevent Negligence?

Communication Issues

The time out encourages improved communication between medical professionals. Before beginning any procedure, doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other staff encourage each other to ask questions and to verify information. The idea is that frequent and open communication leads to better results and fewer medical errors.

System solutions

A broad and effective strategy for reducing surgical errors has been found to be effective. Ultimately, this depends on not just a good strategy but actual and effective implementation. There are efforts, for example, to improve multi-disciplinary documentation techniques so that the various units in a hospital are all reading off the same page. Too often, doctors do not have the same information that a nurse may have learned only very recently. Improving documentation of every detail is crucial to avoid mistakes.

Good and effective teamwork

It is only through effective teamwork that we see a reduction in medical errors. Based upon extensive use of RCA, there have been comprehensive efforts to improve surgical safety by incorporating good teamwork principles into surgical safety techniques.

Individual vigilance

There is an effort to increase vigilance by nurses and other medical staff in order to prevent medical negligence before it happens. Recent studies have shown that when medical personnel are actively in pursuit of total adherence to safety procedures, fewer mistakes are made.

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Count On Us

If you suffered serious injuries due to a surgical error and medical negligence, then you must act quickly and contact a medical malpractice law firm. There is a time limit for filing a lawsuit.

Please contact us for more information about your case so that we may determine the best course of action.

You can count on our total dedication to you. We rely on the best experts to help us evaluate your case. With our firm on your side, you will have an attorney directly available to you.  Contact us at 202-330-6290 or info@serranolegal.com for a free initial consultation.