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Study suggests means to reduce widespread surgical errors

People in New York City may be unaware of how their health and that of their loved ones can be put at risk in a hospital. Surgical errors are one of the major causes of serious and even fatal health complications, which are often not reported.

A recently released study, which has previously been cited on this blog, reports that approximately 4,000 errors are committed by surgeons annually. This includes errors such as surgical equipment left inside a patient and surgeons operating on the wrong person or body part. This startling figure may lead many to ask: What can be done to prevent these medical errors?

Oftentimes, the adverse events are unaccounted for. To resolve this, the study found that third-party reviews of medical charts are very effective in uncovering adverse events. This method focused on triggers that show something went awry.

Currently, there is no mandated federal-level reporting of hospital errors, although some individual states require that hospitals report mistakes. The study recommended that there should be a nationalized system of reporting. Hospitals would use a single standard for data collection as well as the same error and procedure definitions.

In addition, requiring mandatory checklist, establishing training for safety protocols and supporting staff members who report a mistake could be instituted to cut down on dangerous medical errors.

If a surgeon fails to exercise caution during an operation, their negligence could cause patients or their loved ones to file a medical malpractice claim. Such suits could require critical analysis of medical reports and hospital records so that doctors and hospitals can be held accountable. It is a good idea for victims of medical malpractice to consult with a knowledgeable legal professional who understands the complexities of malpractice claims. Such consultations would help victims to receive comprehensive advice and fair compensation.

Source: Bloomberg, "To Reduce Medical Errors, Make Them Public," Feb. 3, 2013