How Often Do Surgical Errors Happen?

by | Jul 16, 2015 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice, Surgical Errors |

Surgical errors shouldn’t take place, but there is shocking evidence
to show that they do, and they do often. This may be concerning for you,
especially if you were hurt during surgery or need to have surgery soon.
A study from 2012 has shown that surgical errors take place more than
4,000 times every year in the United States alone, leaving thousands of
patients in pain or fatally injured.

Never events, aptly named because they are events that should never happen,
were reviewed during a study published in Surgery magazine. In this study,
it was shown that between 1990 and 2010, there were over 80,000 never
events. The study also showed that the injuries varied; at least 39 times
each week, a surgeon left a foreign item in a patient’s body, and
surgeons operated on the wrong part of the patient’s body approximately
20 times each week.

Over the course of those 20 years, over 9,744 medical malpractice claims
were made. Out of those claims, 6.6 percent of the patients had died,
and 32.9 percent were permanently injured. Around 59.2 percent of the
patients had been temporarily injured.

To stop these events from happening, it’s been suggested that surgical
plans should be matched to operations and patients by room, which would
help make sure the right operation is performed on the right person. Using
ink to mark the correct operation site is also suggested. On top of that,
electronic bar codes implemented to count surgical equipment can help
prevent injuries by making sure all items are accounted for following
each operation.


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