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What can I do to prevent surgical errors?

For many Floridians, the mere thought of surgery can be frightening. The hospital smell, the nausea that often accompanies anesthesia and the idea of being cut is enough to make anyone anxious. But, for many Floridians, these fears pale in comparison to the reality they have to face when they are subjected to a surgical error. A mistake made during surgery can leave an individual disfigured, with a worsened medical condition, or, in some instances, dead. Such incidences can cause significant pain and suffering, and recovering from injuries caused can be quite expensive.

So, what can you do to help protect yourself from surgical errors? First, you should be sure to clarify any of your concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure. You can ask your doctor if you need to halt any medications and if you need to refrain from eating or drinking for a period of time before the operation. Prior to the surgery, be sure to carefully read the consent form and ask any questions you might have. No question is dumb, and even a seemingly meaningless question can help you and your doctor ensure that the operation will be performed correctly and safely.

Right before your surgery, you might want to ask if the medical team is going to take a time out after marking the surgical site to double check the operation to be performed and the procedures to be followed. This can help ensure that medical professionals are double-checking their work and are prepared to proceed with the right operation on the right part of the body.

After surgery, you should tell your doctor if you are feeling any pain. If you believe that you were improperly harmed by a surgical error, then you may want to contact an attorney who can assist you with evaluating your claim and help determine your likelihood of recovering compensation for your damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: The Joint Commission, "Help Avoid Mistakes in Your Surgery," accessed on July 1, 2016

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