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Surgical errors that never should occur

Surgical errors, including leaving of items inside of the body or operations on the wrong body part, occur dozens of times every week in hospitals. It has been conservatively estimated that 80,000 such incidents have occurred during the last 20 years.

A study described these surgical errors as ones that should never occur. Yet the problem has likely never been adequately addressed because surgeons and hospitals are unwilling to acknowledge that these events do continue to occur.

In large part, these are the types of errors that are entirely preventable. Unlike infection rates that will always likely occur due to the type of work that hospitals conduct, there are a number of methods that hospital can take to prevent many of these types of surgical errors from occurring.

The exact number of surgical errors that occur is likely unknown because not every error is reported. Often hospitals will settle these types of matter with as little fanfare as is possible. However, even the 4,000 known events that occur are too many because the consequences can lead to severe debilitation and pain and suffering.

What are called "mandatory timeouts" by operating room staff, for example, may prevent errors from occurring. If the staff gets together before an operation and addresses precisely what the plan is for the patient, errors are less likely to occur.

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys will assist those that are injured due to surgical errors. These attorneys can investigate claims and assess the damage that comes about due to mistakes that came about that were never addressed by a hospital's safety practices.

Source: Laboratory Equipment, "Malpractice Occurs At Least 4,000 Times a Year," Dec. 20, 2012

  • Visit our Pittsburgh law firm's medical malpractice webpage for more information regarding surgical errors.

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