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Emergency procedures linked to surgical error

Patients and their doctors in Illinois may have already intuited that emergency surgery is riskier than a planned operation, and a new study adds some evidence to support the idea. Researchers focused on the common factors present in cases with complications over eight months of gallbladder surgeries. Out of almost 600 surgeries, they spotted 22 patients with complications and noted several similarities within the group.

Most complications occurred during emergency surgery, and almost all surgeries taking place after 7 p.m. were emergency surgeries. In total, 18 of the 22 patients with complications had undergone an emergency gallbladder procedure. The underlying goal of the study was to identify possible ways of reducing the risk of surgical error and other problems that may leave a patient in a worsened condition.

A primary suggestion to emerge from the findings is the need to more quickly identify gallbladder problems. Faster diagnosis allows for proactive treatment, instead of a reactionary response. One of the study authors pointed out the fact that ignorance of "warning signs may lead to a more difficult operation in the future." The lead author likewise stated that scarring caused by prolonged inattention to the problem may increase the risk of surgical problems. Physicians and their at-risk patients can both improve success by heeding the symptoms of gallbladder problems.

Physician negligence can take many forms, including surgical error and failure to diagnose. The patients who experience the effects of negligence firsthand may suffer a worsened condition or serious injury. If medical malpractice is suspect in a patient's injury or death, an experienced attorney may be able to help gather the evidence necessary to file a lawsuit and recover compensation.

Source: US News & World Report, "Complications More Likely With Emergency Gallbladder Surgery: Study", July 03, 2013

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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