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3 Facts About Surgical Malpractice Every Calgary Citizen Should Know

Posted in: Blog // Written on behalf of Cuming & Gillespie
June 28, 2016

The Calgary medical community is arguably among the best in the world, and the vast majority of our medical practitioners are careful, prudent professionals who care deeply for their patients. At the same time, mistakes happen, and when a patient’s health or even life is on the line the slightest bit of negligence can lead to devastating consequences. Known cases of medical malpractice are relatively rare in Calgary, but when they occur the victims deserve to be compensated.

A recent study shed some light on the issue of medical malpractice, and shows that while uncommon, malpractice in Canada has several common threads. These three facts may help keep you safe, and can also help you understand your legal rights if you or a family member has been injured as the result of medical malpractice.

12-18% of All Surgical Malpractice Involves Significant Errors

What does the study include in its assessment of significant errors? Leaving sponges and other surgical instruments inside patients, operating on the wrong limb or other part of the body, performing the wrong surgery, and performing surgery on the wrong patient. Approximately 15% or one in seven of all malpractice incidents arising from surgeries involve one of these egregious errors. There are also other surgical mistakes that can have serious consequences for patients and that are not included in this figure.

Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Procedures are Highest Risk

Across all surgical specialties, the most common surgeries to result in the type of malpractice described above were those classified as neurosurgical and orthopaedic procedures. This may have something to do with the complexities of these surgeries and the risk for complications; while leaving behind instruments and other errors can lead to negative consequences in any surgery, mishaps involving the body’s muscles, bones, and nerves can easily lead to immediate painful and debilitating symptoms.

3 Soft Tissue Organs are Also Higher Risk Surgical Sites

Despite the fact that neurosurgeries and orthopaedic surgeries result in the most cases of surgical malpractice, four of the five most common sites of surgical malpractice have nothing to do with orthopaedics or neurosurgery. The colon, gallbladder, and uterus are all internal soft tissue organs that are especially prone to injuries caused by malpractice, according to the findings in this study, with the breast also a common site for malpractice concerns (rounding out the top five areas most likely to be subject to surgical malpractice are the muscles of the chest and abdomen, which may sometimes be involved in orthopaedic surgeries but which can also be damaged during other surgeries on underlying organs).

Contacting a Calgary Malpractice Lawyer for Surgical Errors and Injuries

If you or a family member has been injured as the result of a surgical error and you would like to speak to an experienced Calgary personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer, please contact our office today for a free initial consultation.


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