Surgical errors often kept secret

Thousands of Pittsburgh residents will have surgery this year. Many patients do their homework and research the surgeon and facility where the surgery will take place. But patients may be surprised to know that some surgical errors are kept secret.

A recent report has brought to light the problem with confidentiality agreements when it comes to surgical procedures. Many times when a surgical mistake occurs, the patient is bound by one of these confidentiality agreements that bars them from speaking out about what happened. The hospital will settle with the patient but as part of the settlement the patients cannot talk about it. This often times protects hospitals from being scrutinized but patients are left not knowing that errors have occurred.

Surgical errors occur frequently across the U.S. and Pittsburgh. One of the most common surgical mistakes is leaving a foreign object inside of a patient. Other errors include wrong-site surgery and not monitoring the patient during surgery. These errors caused by a careless surgeon can lead to serious injury and even death of a patient. Surgical errors are being brought into the spotlight lately and increased transparency of the medical mistakes will hopefully help reduce errors and have patients become aware of these problems.

If a patient believes they have been unexpectedly injured during a surgery they may want to contact an attorney experienced in medical malpractice. It may also be a good idea to do research before a surgical procedure, researching both the surgeon and the facility where the surgery is to take place.

Source:, “9 investigates: Surgical mistakes kept secret“, Sarah Rosario, Feb. 25, 2015