A new study reveals that medical personnel make over 4,000 mistakes during surgery that are preventable. This results in awards in medical malpractice lawsuits of approximately $1.3 million annually, and causes patients tremendous pain and suffering.
Researchers who produced the study say that these are not just garden variety mistakes, but truly horrendous errors that certainly should never have occurred if doctors, nurses and other medical personnel were paying attention and doing their jobs. Things like carrying out the incorrect procedure on a patient, leaving surgical instruments, material and other harmful foreign objects in a patient’s body after surgery, and operating on the wrong part of the patient’s body, like the left leg rather than the right, or a hand rather than a foot.
The study examined surgical errors over a 20 year period ending in 2010, and those who conducted it say the results were extremely disturbing in terms of the threat to patient safety. A total of 9,744 paid medical malpractice lawsuit settlements occurred during that period. Of course, many such errors are either not detected or don’t lead to a successful lawsuit for some reason. Some claims are also privately settled out of court, with the incident kept secret.
The patients who are most often the victims of egregious surgical mistakes, researchers found, were patients in their 40s. The surgeons most frequently committing the errors were also in the same age group. Surgeons over the age of 60 were only responsible for 14 percent of the recorded errors, as compared to over 33 percent for surgeons in their 40s.
Source: KGPE-TV, “Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year,” Jennifer Warner, Dec. 26, 2012