Beebe and O'Neil

The most common surgical errors

Going into surgery can cause anxiety for many people in Connecticut and across the country. In addition to the innate fear of the procedure, there is also the fact that physicians can make mistakes that result in severe consequences. In fact, as WebMD points out, doctors make more than 4,000 preventable surgical errors every year to the tune of $1.3 billion in medical malpractice awards.

A mistake during surgery can include any of the following: 

  •        Wrong-site surgery: This occurs when a doctor operates on the wrong body part or the wrong side of the body.
  •        Wrong-procedure surgery: This occurs when a doctor conducts the wrong surgical procedure on a patient.
  •        Leave-behind surgery: This occurs when a foreign object, such as a towel or sponge, is left inside a patient’s body.

These incidents, which the industry has dubbed “never events,” happen roughly 80 times each week, according to a study published in Surgery magazine. The study took a look at the National Practitioner Data Bank’s records on medical malpractice claims between 1990 and 2010. The study found that leave-behind events are the most common.

Experts note that lapses in communication can account for a large number of these mistakes. Clearly marking the surgery site and having a medical staff briefing before the procedure can help reduce the rate of these errors, according to the American Medical Association.

Clearly, the results of surgical errors can have devastating and costly results. Under Connecticut law, victims have two years from the date the injury occurs or is discovered to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical teams that make these preventable mistakes should be held responsible for the ensuing damages.

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