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Study Says Surgeons Make Thousands of Critical Errors Each Year

Posted on December 31, 2012

A story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that surgeons in the United States make thousands of “never event” errors every year. A “never event” is described as a medical mistake that should never happen — like an operation on the wrong person or a sponge being left inside a patient’s body.

According to a recent study published online in the journal Surgery, surgeons make as many as 4,000 of these kinds of mistakes each year. The study, which was released by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, used data from various sources, including a federal repository of medical malpractice judgments and out-of-court-settlements, to come to this conclusion.

And that figure might be low, according to the lead author of the study. The associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins said that many patients don’t file claims after surgical errors. Frighteningly, not all items left behind during a surgery are even noticed. WSJ reports that as many as three out of every four sponges left inside a patient may never be discovered.

The vice president of safety and quality for the American Hospital Association told WSJ that the period of time the study covered didn’t take into account the prevention efforts that have since been implemented to reduce these incidents. However, she stated, “Clearly every hospital leader in the country knows one such incident is too many, and now the challenge is to make sure we understand which strategy we can implement that would be effective in diminishing the numbers even further.”

If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, Florida medical malpractice lawyer Chuck Farah can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options. Call the law firm of Farah & Farah at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.