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Problems in routine surgeries

While many New Mexico residents who go in for routine surgeries come out better than they went in, this is not the case for all of them. Every year, individuals go in for a common surgery and suffer serious health repercussions or even die, giving rise to medical malpractice claims if surgeons or their staff make mistakes.

One California teen went in for a tonsillectomy on Dec. 9. After the routine surgery, the teen began bleeding through her mouth and nose, eventually going into cardiac arrest. Doctors have declared her brain-dead and told the parents they will take her off of life support.

Tonsillectomies comprise the third most common surgery for children in the United States. It is also fairly common for adults, along with appendectomies, gallbladder removal and cesarean sections. Although these surgeries may be routine, they may not be completely safe. Accordingly, patients must usually sign detailed consent forms prior to any surgeries. The most common complications that can arise after surgeries are bleeding, infection and tissue damage.

In a study regarding tonsillectomies, 3 percent of patients suffered bleeding and five out of 14,000 needed blood transfusions. Another study showed that about 1.3 percent of patients were delayed in being discharged or had to return to the hospital within 28 days due to complications. To combat these complications, patients are encouraged to provide their doctors with detailed information about their medical history.

If an individual undergoes surgery and a doctor makes a mistake during the procedure, the patient may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Through such a course of action, a patient may be able to receive compensation for his or her pain and suffering as well as medical costs.

Source: CNN, "When routine surgeries go wrong", Jacque Wilson, December 19, 2013

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