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Surgical errors: what to know

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2018 | Surgical Errors |

Scheduling surgery is no small task for most New Yorkers; with all of the financial planning, and not to mention the mental and physical preparation that is often required before a procedure, facing the day of surgery should be the last overwhelming step.

When a surgical error occurs, this last step could become the first of many. Depending on the extremity of the situation, some may even require additional procedures or treatment. How often do these mistakes occur, and what do doctors usually do about them? 

How Often Do They Occur? 

According to a 2017 report from The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, most surgical mistakes involve wrong-side surgeries, which accounted for 59 percent of all errors. Wrong site errors, which involve the correct side but the wrong site, accounted for 23 percent of all missteps. Wrong procedures made up 14 percent of all errors, and wrong patient accounted for 5 percent. The study highlighted in the report showed that the above errors occur in roughly one out of every 112,000 procedures. The cause? Most errors stem from a lack of communication among medical staff.

How Do Doctors Handle Mistakes?  

CBS News spent time considering medical errors in a 2016 article, referring to a JAMA Surgery study to show that, although most doctors address mistakes promptly and appropriately, a large number fail to even offer an apology. Most admitted to have followed five out of eight disclosure practices when a surgery went awry. CBS goes on to state that, according to the study, only 55 percent of surgeons communicated openly or apologized to patients after a mistake. While most surgeons face a considerable amount of pressure upon each procedure, the fact of the matter is that patients should always be in the know — with a full disclosure of the event — if an error occurs. 

 

   

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