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Adaptable, humble surgeons can prevent medical mistakes

When Pennsylvania patients need to undergo an operation, they want highly qualified surgeons to perform the procedure. For most patients, this means their surgeon should have a degree from a top-flight medical school, years of experience and superb surgical skills. However, according to experts, patients should also look for a surgeon who has excellent non-technical skills, such as adaptability and humility.

Studies show that approximately 45 percent of adverse events, or medical mistakes, involve surgical patients. Of those events, between 35 percent and 66 percent happen in the operating room. To help mitigate these events, experts say surgeons need strong surgical skills, but they also need a healthy dose of non-technical skills. Examples of important non-technical skills include attitude, ambition, adaptability and humility.

For example, if something goes wrong in the surgical theater, it's important for a surgeon to remain calm and focused under pressure. A surgeon with strong cognitive skills can assess a situation and adapt his or her approach in order to correct the problem. This can prevent a small mishap from turning into a life-threatening disaster. In addition, once a mistake happens, a good surgeon should have the humility to admit that an error was made and apologize to the patient.

Surgical errors cause thousands of serious injuries across the U.S. every year. Victims of medical mistakes may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible health care provider or institution. This type of lawsuit is designed to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages and other related damages. As this type of claim can be complex, it is advisable to have the assistance of experienced counsel throughout the process.

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