Medical errors, including surgical errors, are a serious public health problem in the United States. As one of the leading causes of death for patients, it is a substantial threat to patient safety.

An “active error” occurs when medical professionals do something incorrectly in the operating room. Sometimes surgical mistakes occur when a doctor does something incorrectly in the operating room.

1. Nerve damage

If the surgeon hits a nerve during the course of the surgery, the patient can sustain serious, lasting bodily damage. Depending on the location of the nerve and the severity of damage, the patient might experience numbness or a burning sensation in the area and chronic pain  throughout his or her body.

2. Surgery on the wrong patient

A patient might undergo an unnecessary operation on his or her body if the doctor misdiagnoses the symptoms or some miscommunication occurs. Undergoing an unnecessary, incorrect surgery physically and psychologically changes a person.

3. Anesthesia errors

If a patient does not receive enough anesthesia and wakes up during the surgery, he or she can experience severe pain. Too much anesthesia depletes oxygen levels which can lead to brain damage and death.

4. Leaving an item in the patient

Sometimes surgeons and operating room nurses fail to remove all objects from inside the patient after the surgery. As a result, the patient will suffer long-term health issues. Commonly forgotten items include sponges, pins, clamps, gauze, scissors or other surgical equipment inside the patient.

Surgical errors are a type of medical malpractice and if a patient experiences any, he or she can explore legal options.