People in New Mexico who seek medical treatment for health conditions place their trust in the doctors and medical staff who provide them with care. Unfortunately, however, things sometimes go wrong and leave patients with worsened conditions and further injuries. When treatment errors amount to medical negligence, patients who are injured and the families of those who are killed may have grounds to file medical negligence claims against the medical professionals responsible for their losses.
Surgical errors second-leading cause of malpractice claims
Several types of medical negligence can form the basis of medical malpractice claims. While diagnostic errors are the leading cause of malpractice lawsuits, the second-leading cause are surgical errors. Surgical mistakes can include things like wrong-site or wrong-patient surgeries, unnecessary procedures, leaving foreign bodies behind, and unnecessarily delaying surgery. However, these types of surgical mistakes account for a small portion of medical malpractice claims, according to statistics from Coverys, a medical malpractice insurer.
Prevalence of surgical malpractice claims
Coverys reviewed data from 2014 to 2018 of all of the medical malpractice claims it had received. It found that surgical mistakes were the second-leading cause of malpractice claims, which accounted for 25% of the total claims that were filed during those five years. Out of the 2,579 claims involving surgical malpractice, 78% were based on the performance of the surgeon during the surgery. Of those claims, 39% claimed that the surgeon lacked technical skills, and 27% alleged problems with the surgeon’s communication or clinical judgment.
Surgical malpractice can leave people facing permanent disabilities, worsened conditions, and disfigurement. In some cases, patients might die because of a doctor’s negligence before, during, and after a surgical procedure. Researchers recommend that surgery rooms should be maintained as distraction-free environments to reduce the likelihood of mistakes.