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Surgical error figures are alarming in the United States

New York City residents might be aware of a new report that exposes the causes and number of mistakes committed during surgery in the United States. According to the study, American surgeons commit approximately 4,000 preventable errors every year that cost over $1.3 billion in medical malpractice claims. Among all surgical errors, leaving a foreign object inside the body is the most common mistake, followed by adoption of wrong procedure in surgery and wrong-site surgery.

Researchers are of the opinion that the number of surgical errors in the country may be even higher because on many occasions, such cases go unreported. The report says that in 59 percent of cases of surgical error, the patients suffer temporary injuries, while 33 percent are left with permanent injuries. Nearly seven percent of surgical mistakes claim the lives of patients, according to the report.

These fatal surgical errors commonly occur due to negligence of surgeons. Counting of sponges and surgical equipment before and after the operation can effectively reduce the incidents of leaving foreign objects inside the body. Similarly, properly marking the surgery site and diligently following the correct surgical procedure can considerably decrease surgical mistakes.

Surgery is a risky and complex process, and the recklessness or negligence of surgeons may leave the patients with pain and suffering. Negligent surgery may cause permanent disability as well as death. Many of the victims of surgical errors have to go through prolonged illnesses, which can incur huge medical expenses. Some of the patients may also need to undergo a second surgery to get relief from the painful and dangerous consequences of faulty surgery.

Victims of surgical error have the right to recover the cost of medical expenses from the negligent surgeon. They can also claim compensation for permanent disability, loss of wages and pain and suffering. Victims or their family members can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or the hospital where the surgery has been performed.

Source:, “Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year,” Jennifer Warner, Dec. 26, 2012