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Reducing surgical errors

Surgical errors are a common form of medical malpractice in Oklahoma and around the country. A team at Oxford University in England has conducted studies about how to reduce them.

Two approaches were common in surgical error prevention previously. One involved trying to improve communication between members of the surgical team using training techniques adapted from the aviation industry. The other approach involved using safety techniques to remove or modify the riskiest steps in a procedure.

The Oxford researchers have found that a combined approach works better than modifying a procedure or training alone. The study looked at two different systems approaches and two combined system/culture approaches and found that the combined approaches worked better than the systems approaches alone. The study also found that teamwork training can help improve motivation and knowledge about safety risks. Good communication can help ensure that all members of the team focus on safety, not just the most knowledgeable members.

A person who has experienced a surgical error may incur costly medical expenses to repair the mistake. These can include anesthesia and medication errors, wrong-site operations and materials or instruments that are left behind inside the patient after surgery. Some patients do not discover that they have been a victim of a surgical error until years later when problems arise, such as a worsened medical condition.

Those who have been harmed in such a manner may want to discuss their situations with a medical malpractice attorney to see how best to pursue compensation. The attorney will often review a patient’s hospital records and consult with medical experts in order to determine whether or not a lawsuit filed against the negligent health care practitioner and facility is the advisable approach.