Surgical Errors and Their Devastating Impact

Many patients preparing for surgery believe it can never happen to them. However, studies show that wrong-site surgeries and wrong patient surgeries occur more often than one might think possible. Wrong-site surgeries occur in 13% of all medical malpractice cases.
The Joint Commission, responsible for the accreditation of hospitals, estimates that such surgeries occur 40 times a week. These surgical errors often result in devastating consequences for the patient. The errors can lead to further surgery, surgical complications, even death.
We written before about the steps surgeons and surgical staff must take in order to avoid such medical errors. The most important of which is following universal protocols which includes clearly communicating on multiple occasions with the patient about the surgery to be performed and the location of the surgery. These protocols also establish a requirement to clearly mark the surgical site and call a “time out” in order to verify the correct information about the patient and the type of surgery to be performed.