When we go to the hospital, we believe that medical professionals are going to make us better. Unfortunately, these men and women are only human and have to make do with the limited tools at their disposal. And, since these aren’t perfect, problems can occur.
In this post, we take a look at all the things you should know about medical complications.
You Could Have Been Given The Wrong Medication
You would think something as simple as giving patients the correct medication would be standard in hospitals. But it’s not. Every year, medical practitioners give the wrong drugs, leading to all sorts of problems.
Providing the wrong drugs creates two major issues. First, it denies the patient medications that they require to keep them healthy and functioning. Second, it introduces unnecessary chemicals to their system, which could hamper their recovery.
Being given the wrong medication is common in hospital settings where staff shifts change every few hours. So, as a patient, you should take steps to ensure that you’re receiving the correct drug in the recommended dosage. Check that whatever you take falls in line with your doctor’s prescription. And also check to see whether the prescription makes sense. Does the prescribed drug actually address the symptoms that you have?
The Surgeon May Have Made An Error
Surgeons are high-paid professionals. But that doesn’t stop them from making errors.
Some obvious reasons for medical complications include:
- Operating on the wrong side of the body
- Leaving medical equipment inside the body
- Damaging part of the body unrelated to the site of surgery
If surgeons make an error, it could constitute medical malpractice – something that might require a lawyer. Legal professionals can guide you to other physicians who can identify an error and bolster your case.
Sometimes, the error is obvious. Surgeons, for instance, might accidentally leave tools inside the body which appear on X-ray. However, issues can also be more subtle, including incorrect surgical techniques.
You Might Lose Your Vision
Losing your vision can be a scary experience. But it does happen, even if there is nothing wrong with your eyes.
Take diabetic retinopathy, for instance. Usually, medical professionals manage your diabetes by providing you with regular shots of insulin to keep your blood sugar levels low. But if they don’t, you can wind up losing your sight because of high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. It can also result in abnormal blood vessel growth at the back of the eye, making reversal challenging.
You Might Go Into Shock
Major surgeries can sometimes leave the body reeling. Removing large quantities of tissue can put it into shock, leading to severe loss of blood pressure and flow.
Usually, the body does this to protect itself. But it can go too far, leading to infection, brain injury, and shutdown of basic metabolic processes.
Fortunately, most medical establishments are good at dealing with shock. Usually, they’ll begin by stopping blood loss and heat loss. They may also provide oxygen and prescribe special medications that help to raise blood pressure, keeping the patient conscious.
You Might Have A Hemorrhage
The word hemorrhage just means bleeding. Usually, it occurs at the site of surgery, but it can happen anywhere in the body. Most bleeding is mild. However, if it becomes heavy, it can be life-threatening. Hemorrhage, for instance, can lead to shock, requiring IV fluids, blood transfusions, and additional surgery to control the bleeding.
Whether hemorrhages occur because of surgeon errors or the quirks of a patient’s body depends on the specifics of the case. The key with hemorrhages is to treat them quickly before they lead to systemic issues.
You Might Get An Infection
Modern medicine has become extremely proficient in preventing infections, so getting one after surgery or medical treatment is actually quite rare. However, it does sometimes happen.
Infections most commonly occur at the site of surgery. Sometimes, germ-ridden instruments are to blame. But mostly, infections happen because germs from the air get into the wound and start to multiply.
Wound infections prevent healing and cause additional soreness. However, if the body cannot contain them, they may spread to the rest of the body, causing systemic sepsis – a serious condition.
Treatments for these infections include antibiotics and additional surgery to clean and drain the affected tissues.
You Might Develop A Clot
Nobody wants to think about developing a clot, but it is a common medical complication.
Clots usually occur in the deep veins of the legs. If a person remains still for a long time (for instance, during bed rest), blood starts to pool in the veins. Under the right conditions, it can form sticky lumps that travel throughout the body.
Usually, these lumps don’t cause any problems and disperse naturally. However, they can become lodged in the pulmonary arteries, making it difficult to breathe.
If physicians think you are at risk of developing a clot, they should give you blood thinners or anti-clot medications. These either make your blood runnier or break down the clot directly.
You May Find It Hard To Go To The Bathroom
Finding it hard to go to the bathroom is yet another common medical complication of surgery. Most operations use anesthetic, knocking you out and letting you avoid any pain. But they have a somewhat unusual byproduct – they can inactivate the bladder. When this happens, urinating can be a challenge.
For this reason, some patients use a catheter. This allows them to avoid discomfort and potential danger of holding onto their urine.
You Might React To The Anesthetic
Anesthetics are powerful drugs that have the power to induce unconsciousness in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, some people can have reactions to them, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Usually, doctors react to anesthesia allergies in one of two ways. They either stop the specific medications causing the problem. Or, if they can’t do that, they use other medications to treat the allergy.
In summary, therefore, medical complications are a common occurrence, particularly after surgery. Before you accept any treatment, you should learn about them in advance.