About 24 percent of all surgical mistakes are caused by technology problems or equipment failure, according to research recently published in BMJ Quality and Safety. The study is alarming, as the use of complex technology in the operating room has risen dramatically. It's becoming apparent that the prevalence of computer-driven instruments, such as the da Vinci robotic surgical system, brings its own set of risks to surgery.
Researchers used data from 28 independent medical studies to form their data pool, and were able to extrapolate some other notable findings:
- Each surgery had two mistakes, on average
- Improper machine configuration caused 43 percent of equipment failures
- A lack of appropriate equipment caused 37 percent of the errors
What's terrifying is there is nothing a patient can do about these prevalent mistakes. While under the powerful effects of anesthesia, a patient must place full faith in surgeons and hospital staff to competently operate.
If a surgical error occurs, the patient typically has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, because the hospital will go into a defensive mode and deny any wrongdoing. It's extremely rare for a hospital to admit that operating room errors occurred and offer fair compensation to the patient.
If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed by an operating room error, an experienced surgical negligence lawyer can help you explore your options.
McKeen & Associates, PC, is a prominent medical malpractice law firm based in Detroit, Michigan. McKeen law's experience and extensive network of resources allows it to represent injured patients throughout the country.
Source: AboutLawsuits.com, "Surgical Errors Often Caused By Equipment Issues, Technology: Study," Martha Garcia, July 30, 2013