Study reveals post-surgical errors are common and dangerous

Patients in Chicago expect the best care when they put their lives into the hands of doctors who are supposed to help them and keep them safe during medical operations.

However, negligence by a doctor can cause a number of harmful situations to occur. For example, if a surgeon is not careful or paying attention, he could use the wrong equipment during an operation, accidentally leave sponges or other items inside a patient’s body or could even perform a completely wrong operation. Consequences of medical malpractice include infections, serious and life-threatening injuries and even death.

In addition to providing quality care while a patient is in the operating room, doctors also need to continue to provide patients with quality care after surgery. This is because patients could experience complications from surgery and require immediate medical treatment. Unfortunately, a new study reveals that post-operative care is not always adequate, making many patients vulnerable to harm.

A two-year study performed by researchers at Imperial College London discovered a number of errors made by doctors regarding post-operative care. In fact, more than 350 mistakes were tracked.

Many mistakes involved assessment and treatment delays, as well as a lack of communication. There were also times when scans and test results were not given to surgical teams. More than three quarters of the mistakes were preventable, according to the study. These mistakes did cause many patients to suffer further health complications after surgery.

Some research shows checklists have been known to help fix half of the mistakes that occur after surgery, but critics believe that general checklists do not always address patients’ unique conditions and circumstances.

Although the study was not conducted in the U.S., the results of study reveal that medical malpractice is still a significant problem that affects thousands of patients every year. After reviewing the study, one U.S. doctor stated, “My main take home message from this study is that our current patient safety protocols do not keep our patients safe.”

Source: Reuters, “Study finds errors in post-surgery care are common,” Kerry Grens, Oct. 2, 2012

  • Our firm provides counsel to those who have been harmed by a surgical error. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Chicago surgical errors page.

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