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Examining the facts behind URFOs

| Mar 12, 2015 | Surgical Errors

Thanks to advances in medical science, surgical intervention has become much safer in recent years. Yet that’s to say that every surgery performed in Queens is guaranteed to avoid any complications. There are some unfortunate surgical outcomes that are beyond the control of health care providers, and thus may not require the intervention of Queens surgical errors lawyers. Many surgical mistakes, however, can often be attributed to blatant negligence of behalf of a surgeon and/or surgical team. The unintended retention of foreign objects following surgery is certainly one of them.

According to information shared by the World Journal of Surgery to the National Institutes of Health, 45 million inpatient procedures are performed in the U.S. annually. Knowing exactly how many of these procedures results in URFOs is difficult. Information shared by the Joint Commission for a Medscape.com article reports that only 772 of these particular surgical errors were reported from 2005 to 2012. However, NoThingLeftBehind.com study results shared in the same article estimate that 1500 to 2000 URFO’s happen every year. Many believe the reason behind the discrepancy in these reported numbers could be that surgeons simply don’t report these incidents for fear of damage to their reputations and credibility.

While objects as large as surgical scalpels have been found to be left behind in patients, the most common URFOs include:

  •          Surgical sponges and mesh
  •          Suturing needles
  •          Broken pieces of surgical instruments

Even the adoption of new practices cannot completely eliminate the threat URFO errors. While pre- and post-procedure counts of surgical instruments by operative teams have helped, these practices still have an estimated 10 to 15 percent error rate. More advanced prevention methods, such as using supplies composed of materials that would show up on post-operative imaging studies, are viewed by many as being too costly.  

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