February 21, 2013

Recent Study Conducted on Occurrence of Surgical Errors

By Jonathan Damashek

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A recent study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine proves that surgical errors occur more often than people may think. Their study proved that more than 4,000 people are victims of preventable surgical mistakes each year in the United States. Such errors include operating on the wrong body part, operating on the wrong patient altogether, and leaving medical tools inside a patient. These can lead to serious complications, or in some extreme situations, death. A study done by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed that between 2001 and 2002, one tenth of fatalities that occurred in the first three months after surgery were caused by preventable errors by surgeons.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s study focused on 9,744 surgical error cases that spanned from 1990 to 2010. Of these cases, 25 percent of victims had surgery on the wrong side of the body. 50 percent of the victims had an object left inside their body. Presently, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejects the option to have surgeons fix preventable surgical errors on patients. Some people believe that if massive fines are charged to hospitals that have preventable surgery errors, the percentage of surgical errors might decrease.

Certain tactics have been invented to help surgeons prevent errors. Sponges are the most common medical tool left inside patients, and over the years, hospitals have been able to create ways to track these instruments. A few hospitals have checklists that require the medical staff in the operating room to repetitively count all sponges at all times while surgeries are occurring. Surgeons have also begun using sponges that are labeled with bar codes, so doctors can quickly tally the number of sponges in the operating room before conducting the last stages of surgery.

Even though hospitals are improving ways to avoid preventable surgical errors, they still occur every year by the thousands. Not only can preventable surgical errors cause pain and suffering, they can also lead to more serious complications and possibly even death. If you are looking for an experienced attorney to help file a medical malpractice claim for a preventable surgical error, a New York City personal injury attorney at Hecht Kleeger & Damashek may be able to determine the best course of action. With over 75 years of combined experience, and over $150 million won in settlements, they may be able to assist you with your case. Call today and see what they can do for you.