Top Surgical Errors That Lead to Medical Malpractice Claims in Alaska


Surgeons are held in high esteem for their professionalism and dedication to quality patient care but, like other health care providers, even physicians in the surgical specialty can make mistakes. Fierce Healthcare, an online resource for medical news and information, reports that surgery is the second most common reason behind medical malpractice cases. Of all claims filed from 2014 to 2018, around one in four alleged negligence during a surgery or medical procedure; 78% were directly related to misconduct by the surgeon as opposed to another practitioner involved with providing care.

As you might expect, surgical errors can lead to severe bodily harm and other losses. Fortunately, you could be entitled to recover compensation with the help of an Alaska medical malpractice lawyer. However, you may also find it useful to review the top surgical errors that lead to medical malpractice claims.


Foreign Objects Left in Patients

While it is horrific to think that a physician could be so careless as to leave an item inside the patient after surgery, the issue of retained surgical bodies (RSB) is very real. It is disturbing to note in such a situation that:

  • The patient may not realize the surgeon’s error until months or years after the procedure; and,
  • In almost every case, it will be necessary to conduct another surgery to correct the RSB. Any invasive procedure carries risks that could lead to harm for the patient, especially infection.


Slicing into Adjacent Tissue or Organs

A steady hand is mandatory in the surgical field, but even the most reputable, experienced surgeons may slip up. Lacerating a blood vessel could lead to excessive bleeding and nicking an organ adjacent to the surgical site can lead to permanent damage. Another common surgical error is perforating the bowel, which can lead to a life-threatening infection for the patient.


Nerve Damage

When handling the scalpel and other sharp surgical tools, it is also possible for the physician to cause injury to nerves near the site of the procedure. Depending upon the part of the body affected, you could suffer from permanent disability or paralysis.


Wrong Patient, Side, or Surgery

It may seem inconceivable that a surgeon could make a mistake in this category, which is usually linked to errors in handling patient charts. When physicians do not have the proper medical records for the patients before them, surgical errors will occur. In addition, there may be a claim for medical malpractice against the facility if understaffing or other negligence was a contributing factor.


Our Anchorage, Alaska Med Mal Attorneys can Assist with Your Claim

This is not an exclusive list of the most common surgical errors, as many forms of negligence during a procedure could give rise to a medical malpractice claim. Our team at Power & Power Law can assist in obtaining the monetary damages you deserve, so please contact our offices in Anchorage, Alaska today. We can set up a free consultation to review your situation and decide how to proceed.