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Study of surgical errors gives clues to how and why they happen


Even with technological advances and a greater amount of scrutiny on patient safety, one medical problem that frequently arises in Newton, and across the nation, is when there is a mistake made during surgery. Research indicates that surgical errors can happen for a variety or reasons and be made in numerous ways. From surgical equipment left inside a patient to wrong-site surgery, these errors can lead to worsened condition and even be fatal. Knowing the potential for these kinds of errors and what to do in the aftermath is imperative to being compensated.

Studies have shown that major errors made in surgical procedures happen rarely. They do, however, still happen. For approximately every 100,000 surgeries, an estimated one will include wrong-site surgery. This might be operating on the left side of the body when it was supposed to be on the right. There are even instances in which the wrong patient is operated on. For every 10,000 procedures, around one will involve surgical equipment left inside a patient. This is commonly due to a lack of communication on the part of the medical professionals who are involved in the surgeries.

Although there is a framework to know how often these incidents happen, it is still difficult to come to a blueprint to prevent them entirely. Since they are referred to as "never events," it is implied that they should never happen. This means that there is little excuse for a doctor to operate on the wrong body part or to leave equipment inside the patient.

Recently, 138 studies were examined over the course of the research. These were published over a 10-year period from 2004 to 2014 with reports on wrong-site surgery, equipment left inside the patients and fires during surgery. The types of surgical procedures that were being performed was important as to how often the mistakes occurred. Many times, a confluence of events leads to the errors being made.

Considering the damage that can be done when these surgical errors are made, it's no surprise that those who are harmed by them or lost a loved one would like more information. An investigation must be conducted to determine what happened and how best to proceed. Those who have been negatively affected by these mistakes need to understand how to move forward with litigation with help from a legal professional experienced in claims due to mistakes in surgery.

Source: livescience, "Major Surgical Mistakes Still Happen in the US," Laura Geggel, June 11, 2015

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