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Major surgical mistakes and their common causes

Oklahoma patients may find of interest a recent study that examines the preventable surgical mistakes that occur in American hospitals. Approximately one in 100,000 surgeries results in a wrong site error, which often involves a procedure performed on the wrong part of the body. In some cases, the operation is performed on the wrong person. One out of 10,000 procedures results in an object being left behind in the patient’s body after surgery.

Researchers cited poor communication among medical teams as the primary cause of major surgical mistakes. Researchers did not have a solution for preventing some of these so-called ‘never events,” in part because of a lack of data. The review examined 138 studies that reported at least three types of never events, including wrong-site surgery, items left in patients and surgical fires. The frequency of the never events depended on the type of surgery being done. General eye doctor claims had a lower incidence of wrong-site procedures than eye doctors treating strabismus, for example.

Researchers also examined how frequently fires had occurred but found insufficient data. The overall information presented shows that never events are caused by a variety of unique factors. Miscommunication among surgical staff members, a lack of information in the operating room and staff members who felt that they could not speak up when errors were noticed were all cited as common communication issues within the operating room. Researchers theorized that tracking near misses in the future may be helpful.

Surgical mistakes can have catastrophic effects on patients, and may even result in long-term health issues and disability. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to help a patient injured by a negligent doctor receive the compensation they deserve through the filing of a civil lawsuit against the responsible practitioner.