3) Due to the advanced technology and modern treatments available in medicine today, many people believe that any disease is treatable. Routine operations are operations, which do not usually involve many complications and are relatively easy to carry out for a well-trained doctor. Death during such operations is not normal as these operations are carried out after careful planning. Since there is a very low chance that death could occur, people believe that death during routine operations is the medical staff’s fault. A medical error is a preventable adverse effect of care, which could harm the patient. Medical errors could include incomplete diagnosis of disease, injury and infection.

However, this might not be entirely true. Patients, themselves, can be the cause of many complications arising during an operation. Before any operation, patients are given a guideline, which they must follow to ensure the operation goes according to plan. For example, when an operation involves the use of general anaesthesia, the patient must fast for up to 12 hours before the surgery is due. If the patients break this rule and eat just before the surgery, they can risk regurgitation. If this happens, food may enter the patient’s lungs, causing difficulty in breathing and in some cases, death. This cannot be deemed as medical error.

Together with this, there is always a chance of infection during an operation, which can cause death. Doctors are supposed to inform the patients about this chance of infection and that it is not entirely preventable. If an infection occurs even after the surgery had been carried out under hygienic conditions, this is not medical error as the medical staff took all measures to prevent this from happening.  

All routine operations must be carried out after careful planning. The patients should be informed about what they should do before and after surgery as this can help to prevent any complications. If a patient dies after a routine operation due to the carelessness of the medical staff, then, of course, this is deemed as a medical error. Therefore, it is difficult to come to a conclusion of whether death after a routine operation is a case of medical error as any surgery or procedure always involves risks. These risks are not entirely preventable by the medical staff.