Study: preventable surgical errors are rare, but causes remain unclear

Although we live in a country that offers some of the best health care services in the world, many of us don’t think too much about the possibility that we could be injured by our doctors. Mistakes in medical care do happen, though. In some cases, mistakes are just part of the risk of a course of care. In surgery, for instance, there is the possibility that a patient will have a bad reaction to anesthesia, or that he or she could develop an infection, despite proper care from providers.

 Aside from these sorts of mistakes—which are probably better called risks—there are also mistakes that are preventable. Here we are referring to mistakes which do not occur unless a doctor is failing in their duty as a physician. When it comes to surgery, serious errors are rare, but they can still occur.

According to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Surgery, about one in 10,000 surgeries involve a wrong site error. These are errors in which a surgeon operates on a wrong body part or the wrong person. The study also found that roughly one in 10,000 surgeries involves leaving an object inside a patient’s body. These, of course, are errors that are completely preventable.

According to the study, such errors often occur because of poor communication between medical staff members. And although these errors are rare, they can result in serious harm to patients that go through them. One of the points the study made is that such errors need to be better tracked so that we can begin to get a better sense of why and how they occur.

In any case where a patient is seriously harmed by a medical or surgical procedure, it is imperative that they work with an experienced attorney to have their case investigated. Doing so will allow them to put together the strongest case possible and maximize their recovery. 

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