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Postoperative Complications Every Patient Should Know Before Surgery

Each year, more than 250,000 Americans seeking life-saving procedures are severely injured or even lose their lives due to negligent medical care. These errors tend to be more severe in the case of postoperative complications, where a patient’s health is already in a fragile state as they rest and recover.

To help patients understand post-surgical risks, we’ve put together a list of some of the most serious postoperative complications everyone should know before surgery.


Infections are extremely common in hospitals, especially after an operation. Each year, close to 2 million Americans develop “healthcare-acquired infections (HAI).” Of those, over 100,000 lose their lives due to these preventable illnesses.

It’s important that patients are vocal about any pain or unexpected side effects during their recovery. The sooner hospital staff identify an infection, the better the chances of a successful treatment.

Failure to Monitor

Hospital staff are required to monitor a post-operative patient for changes in vital signs or other clinical change. Nurses must immediately respond to concerning findings and let a doctor know when serious. Delay in identification of bleeding or other serious complications can cause a patient’s death.

Concerned patients and their bedside advocates should be vocal and not hesitate to call hospital staff or escalate a situation if they believe their health is in danger.

Wrong Medication Errors

Most surgical recoveries require medications to help you heal and reduce the risk of infection. However, negligent hospital staff may confuse the names of medications with those that are visually similar or that sound similar when read aloud. This is called a syringe swap, and it is extremely common, occurring almost as many times per year as HAIs.

Before accepting a dosage of medication, patients should be fully informed and ask what they’re being given and what it does. The more informed you are of what staff are doing, the better your chances of potentially avoiding an error that could endanger your health.

To speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney from Gunn Law Group P.A., please call (813) 993-1448 or send us an email.