In Ohio, going into surgery is a risk. It’s a risk any time you go
under the knife, even when the procedure is there to help you recover
or get well. Hospitals do have ways to prevent surgical errors, and there
are a few things they do to make sure you come out of the procedure safely.

One of the things hospitals have started doing is to collect more data
about the surgical errors that do take place. By doing this, they’re
able to track performances and learn what activities help or hinder doctors
or surgeons. For example, if errors drop after teaching surgeons about
equipment that could be dangerous and the ways they can make using that
equipment safer, then the hospitals know that they should use this technique
to prevent errors in the future as well.

Surgical errors have massive consequences in the United States as far as
finances for hospitals go and for patients. In 2012, Johns Hopkins’
researchers showed that 4,082 of the medical malpractice lawsuits filed
each year are for mistakes that shouldn’t have happened; things
like marking the wrong leg and operating in the wrong place or leaving
an object in the body.

Hospitals do get punished for these mistakes, but the goal is to fix errors,
not to punish errors and allow them to continue. One project, the National
Surgical Quality Improvement Project, has been started to help decrease
postoperative rates of death. The program works to help hospitals identify
mistakes and to eliminate gaps in safety. Over 600 hospitals are monitored,
so the data from all the hospitals can be combined and used to show where
safety standards are too lax and what procedures are best for keeping
patients safe.