4,000 avoidable surgical errors made every year, researchers say

Whether a surgery is considered to be a simple or complicated procedure, Chicago surgeons and medical workers who are responsible for prepping patients, performing the operations and caring for patients afterwards must be focused on providing quality care at all times.

Any surgery comes with risks, but doctors and nurses can lower these risks significantly and avoid making other surgical errors that should never happen when they are prepared to properly handle emergency situations and when they are prepared to do their jobs correctly.

To the surprise of many patients throughout the country, surgeons are still responsible for making mistakes that are 100 percent avoidable. Like drivers who make dangerous errors by driving drunk or texting while driving, surgeons are making dangerous errors that should never be made when performing operations on patients.

Patient safety researchers at John Hopkins recently released the results of their analysis of “never events” that occurred in U.S. hospitals. Never events are errors that should never be made when treating patients. Researchers analyzed malpractice judgments and settlements involving surgeons who made mistakes that were completely avoidable. Based on this analysis, researchers estimate that at least 4,000 avoidable mistakes are made during surgery every year in the U.S.

Incidents that are considered to be never events include:

  • Leaving a foreign object in a patient’s body
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part

According to researchers at John Hopkins, these avoidable mistakes are made dozens of times every week. It is estimated that foreign objects are left in patients’ bodies nearly 40 times a week.

Surgical errors are extremely dangerous, but surgical errors are also very costly because the mistakes often require additional medical attention and treatment to fix patients’ complications or injuries. In some cases, families may even need to be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one.

If you believe that you suffered complications after surgery as a result of a doctor’s mistake that was entirely avoidable, you may want to consider consulting an attorney in order to determine whether you are entitled to recover compensation for your pain, suffering, medical expenses and other damages.

Source: Infection Control Today, “John Hopkins Malpractice Study Reveals Surgical ‘Never Events’ Occur at Least 4,000 Times Annually,” Dec. 19, 2012

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