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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.