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Technology blamed for many surgery errors

Boston residents may be interested to find that in a study published on July 25, it was reported that technologically sophisticated equipment caused up to 25 percent of surgical errors. It showed that the typical operation involves 15 errors, with equipment failure found at fault in 24 percent of these. Studies conducted previously showed that from 13 to 16 percent of patients experienced medical errors, with half of these due to equipment failure.

Some surgeries, such as heart surgery, are heavily dependent on high-tech devices. These more complicated surgeries had higher rates of equipment problems than general surgeries. When searching for a way to reduce these failure rates, the study identified three major areas that lead to cutting error rates in half: performing checks on all equipment before every surgery, more staff training and using briefing tools.

There were three major areas of failure leading to complications. Lack of needed equipment accounted for 37 percent, problems with configuration or settings in 44 percent and malfunctioning devices were accountable for 33 percent of cases. The study recommended that surgical teams routinely use equipment checks before every surgery and that the step should be part of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist.

A person who underwent a surgery that was complicated by an equipment failure due to a negligent hospital staff may wish to retain a personal injury attorney specializing in medical issues. The surgical team and hospital owes patients their utmost attention to the state of the equipment used during the procedure. A personal injury attorney may represent patients and put the case before an impartial court to determine the reasons why the surgery had unnecessary complications. If a person has suffered from surgical equipment failures, a personal injury attorney may be able to help them attempt to recoup losses and pay for pain and suffering.

Source: Fox News, "1 in 4 surgery errors due to technology problems", Bahar Gholipour, July 26, 2013

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