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Medical malpractice continues in spite of stringent controls

Minor surgical errors still occurring despite new guidelines

A campaign in Boston, Mass., area hospitals over the past 10 years has sought to reduce the number of errors during surgeries and other invasive procedures that should not be happening. In spite of those efforts, medical mistakes continue to occur and since 2011 have included doctors injecting anesthesia into a patient's wrong leg, putting a catheter into the wrong patient and leaving surgical equipment inside others.

In a survey of individuals in the medical care industry, several professionals say these mistakes are on the rise due to the fact that increasing numbers of patients are seen in clinics and offices where safety protocols are not closely followed. Others blame lack of staff training in situations that seem inconsequential but could have dire consequences for patients. A report of data compiled by The Boston Globe states that reported hospital errors are set to increase by 65 percent in 2012.

Reports show that a majority of the errors, including gauze and surgical supplies left inside patients' bodies and procedures performed on incorrect patients or body parts, occur thanks to a lack of training and inappropriate following of checklists before, during and after procedures. Some medical professionals have even reported that fatigue and inattention to detail are huge problems, citing caregivers exiting the surgical suite or treatment room to retrieve equipment, take a break or simply have conversations with others.

Patients who have been on the receiving end of one of these potentially life-altering errors may wish to file a malpractice suit against the doctor or hospital in charge of treatment. A Middlesex, Mass., area attorney with the appropriate knowledge to aggressively pursue these types of lawsuits and negotiate financial settlements may be able to benefit the injured parties involved.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Surgical errors rise in Mass. despite new controls", Liz Kowalczyk, July 07, 2013

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