In October 2015, Outpatient Surgery Magazine (www.outpatientsurgery.net) provided three (3) patient positioning pointers for physicians and their surgical teams to avoid positioning injuries. A positioning injury occurs when a patient is left in a particular surgical position for a prolonged period of time which can lead to very significant injuries, including nerve injuries, skin breakdowns, pressure ulcers and other deep tissue injuries. If a patient is properly positioned and the surgical team meets the standard of care (i.e. acts resonable under the circumstances), the patient should not suffer from a positioning injury.
Outpatient Surgery Magazine has made three (3) recommendations to surgeons and their surgical teams regarding proper positioning. Essentially, Outpatient Surgery Magazine recommends that surgeons and the surgical team know the risk, assess the patient’s skin condition and soften the surgical surface. Outpatient Surgery recommends that padding be used to prevent nerve injuries and that the operating room table be arranged to protect bony prominences (for example, elbows and heels) against pressure ulcers and other skin and deep tissue injures. According to Outpatient Surgery Magazine, “patients are in jeopardy if they have been positioned with more thought given to clinical access than to ergonomic safety.” Clinical access references the ease at which the surgical team can access the given portion of the body which is the subject of the given surgery. According to Outpatient Surgery, the longer patients are on the table, the higher their risk of injury, especially as cases approach the 3 hour mark. If you, a friend or a family member are having a lengthy surgery, you should discuss positioning with the surgeon, especially if it is a lengthy procedure.
Many medical negligence cases are pursued as a result of patient positioning injuries. In other words, physicians, nurses and members of the surgical team can be held liable if they improperly position the patient resulting in a nerve injury, skin breakdown, pressure ulcer or other positional injury. If appropriate precautions are taken, these injuries can easily be avoided.
If you, a friend or a family member have suffered a surgical position injury or any other medical negligence injury, contact the attorneys at Patberg Law Firm at (412) 232-3500 or 1-800-471-6880. You can also visit the firm’s website at www.pcglawfirm.com or email any positioning injury inquiries regarding medical negligence to firstname.lastname@example.org.