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Assessing the frequency of surgical errors

| Jul 30, 2014 | Surgical Errors

When a patient prepares for surgery, they expect high-quality care. Unfortunately, surgical mistakes occur from time to time and lead to serious complications, including death. In New York, NY, it is important for patients who are dealing with the consequences of surgical errors to do everything they can to move forward, from physical and emotional therapy to taking legal action.

Often referred to as “never events,” research indicates that surgical errors take place thousands of times per year. According to findings that were published by John Hopkins Medicine, safety researchers estimate that U.S. physicians leave foreign objects in the bodies of their patients 39 times every week, perform incorrect procedures 20 times per week and perform an operation on the wrong site 20 times each week.

The research team estimates that these errors, which are never supposed to happen, occur more than 4,000 times each year throughout the country. Furthermore, researchers analyzed more than 9,700 medical malpractice claims and judgments that were paid over a 20 year period. After reviewing the data, they found that:

  • Over 6 percent of patients lost their lives because of the mistakes
  • 32.9 percent were permanently injured
  • 59.2 percent suffered from temporary injuries
  • $1.3 billion worth of payments were made

Medical News Today also explored the issue and published an associate professor of surgery’s comments on the matter. The associate professor believes it is imperative for surgical errors to be reported to the public, to help inform patients and encourage hospitals to provide reliable care. The piece also points out that 62 percent of the physicians who made surgical mistakes were responsible for other surgical errors as well. Surgical errors cause tremendous pain and suffering and take place more often than many people think, which highlights the importance of preventing mistakes.


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