Surgical Errors Still Too Common

The Wall Street Journal reports on a study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine of reported malpractice payments between 1990 and 2010, which shows that the leading surgical mistakes in the U.S. are:
  • Foreign objects left behind
  • Wrong procedure
  • Wrong site
  • Wrong patient.
This amounts to more than 4,000 surgical errors a year. Errors that should "never" happen.

Quoted in the article, Surgeons Make Thousands of Errors, Martin Makary, lead author and professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, says that surgical errors are "totally preventable." He indicates that the estimates are likely low as the study only counted cases involving payouts.

The WSJ article further reports:
"Hospitals have been working for years on safety programs to reduce such events, including "timeouts" before surgery to make sure they have the right patient or are about to operate on the right body part. New technology, such as bar-coding and wandlike scanners waved over a patient, allows surgical teams to account for all sponges and other products used in a procedure. Other steps include using indelible ink to  mark the site of the surgery before the patient goes under anesthesia.
But not all hospitals use such technology, and even when prevention protocols are followed, mistakes can be made."
Read the full article on WSJ.

See also: 28 "never events" — medical errors that should never happen.

Lubin & Meyer PC | Boston Surgical Error Attorneys
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