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Examining Some Common Causes of Wrong-Site Surgery

  Alan Fuchsberg  |  March 28, 2015  |  

While advocates say that certain surgical mistakes are never supposed to occur, surgical errors and other types of medical malpractice continue to take place nationwide at an alarming rate. According to a piece that was published by Medical News Today, there are more than 4,000 surgical errors per year in the United States. Although hospitals and medical professionals can take a variety of measures to prevent wrong-site surgery from occurring, these surgical errors will likely claim more lives and cause serious injuries for far too many patients.

On the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website, some of the causes of wrong-site surgery are explored. Wrong-site surgery is a common form of medical malpractice and occurs for a variety of reasons. In some cases, patients are assessed improperly and medical professionals fail to prepare for the procedure appropriately or check a patient’s information before starting an operation. Also, some surgeons and medical staff are pushed to work very long hours or perform too many operations, which can increase the likelihood of a mistake occurring. Furthermore, some teams lack credentials or training and fail to communicate clearly.

Addressing Causes of Wrong-Site Surgery

All of these problems can play a role in a wrong-site surgery or another type of surgical error, and it is imperative for medical professionals to root out and address these issues immediately. Sometimes, these unacceptable tragedies are the result of a seemingly minor mistake that was easily avoidable. Surgical errors can have devastating consequences for patients and their loved ones, which is why surgical teams have a responsibility to do everything they can to prevent them from happening.

The good news is that these events do not go unnoticed. In New York, hospitals and clinics that perform office-based surgery are required to report these “adverse events” to the state Department of Health. Those results are aggregated and, on occasion, reported to the public. More importantly, those results are used to identify trends in surgical processes or types of surgeries that can go wrong. The information is a valuable tool for practitioners working toward zero adverse events.

To learn more about wrong-site surgery and what recourse you may have if it has happened to you or a loved one, we invite you to contact our law firm.

Data Sources:

National Academy for State Health Policy, “2014 Guide to State Adverse Event Reporting Systems,” Kaitlin Sheedy, Taylor Kniffin and Jill Rosenthal, Feb. 1st, 2015

Medical News Today, “Surgical Errors Occur More Than 4,000 Times A Year In The U.S.,” Last updated: Dec. 22, 2012

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