Some surgical errors may not be preventable, such as unforeseen complications, while others might have been avoided through more diligent care. But there are also many mistakes made in the operating room that should never, ever happen.
Studies by Johns Hopkins University researchers have revealed that approximately 4,000 of the surgical mistakes made every year in the U.S. should have never occurred. They called these “never events.”
Some of the mistakes that are categorized as those that should never happen include:
- performing surgery on the wrong site;
- leaving an object inside a patient; and
- performing the wrong procedure.
The analysis found that the patients with the highest incidences of these mistakes were between the ages of 40 and 49.
Estimates from the data indicated that on average, 20 times a week a wrong site surgery occurs. The same is true for performing the wrong procedure. Meanwhile, an object such as a towel, surgical tool or sponge is left inside a patient about 39 times a week, the research found.
Preventing Surgical Mistakes
Before the procedure is performed, the patient’s medical records are reviewed. The details of the operation are shared with all key players, to make sure everything is correct and everyone is on the same page.
Counting surgical items before and after an operation is another way to prevent a mistake. Additionally, ensuring the surgical site is clearly and properly marked can help prevent these errors.
Patients should verify the procedure and its location with the surgeon and feel free to ask questions prior to the procedure. Additionally, it’s important to make sure healthcare providers have properly identified you as a unique patient. It may seem silly to continue to introduce yourself and explain your procedure to your surgeon but the sad truth, backed up by this research, shows that it is imperative to your safety and health.
Contacting a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in New York
Contact a lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates on Long Island at 800-246-4878 if you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice, including these surgical “never events.” We can evaluate the details of your case to determine if you have a claim and who may be held liable.