Claims for Surgical Errors - Consumer Justice Foundation

Claims for Surgical Errors

Written by Faith Anderson on December 25, 2012
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Surgical Errors Affecting Patients

The goal of the researchers involved in the study was to quantify the number of avoidable surgical mistakes that occur every year, but they also sought to determine the overall impact of these medical errors on paid malpractice claims. “Never events” are defined as surgical errors that should not occur during or after surgical procedures, if the proper standard of medical care is provided to patients. This could involve leaving foreign objects in a patient’s body during surgery, operating on the wrong part of a patient’s body, or conducting surgery on the wrong patients. These mistakes often result in additional complications following surgery, and cost the healthcare system an estimated $1 billion every year.

The Johns Hopkins study reviewed information from the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal repository of medical malpractice claims, in order to identify malpractice lawsuits, settlements and judgments involving these avoidable surgical errors. Nearly 10,000 malpractice judgments or settlements were discovered between 1990 and 2010, which totaled more than $1.3 billion in payments. Researchers also discovered that “never events” resulted in mortality in close to 7% of these cases, while nearly 33% of patients suffered permanent injury and nearly 60% sustained temporary injury.

Contact a Qualified Attorney for Legal Help

Based on the data observed, researchers estimated that more than 4,000 avoidable surgical mistakes occur in the United States annually, and that 12% of doctors involved in “never event” claims had an increased risk of being involved in another. “[These events are] associated with serious harm to patients,” the study authors concluded, noting that patient and healthcare provider characteristics may assist in developing prevention strategies like more stringent safety checks and surgical “time-outs.” If you have suffered complications related to an avoidable surgical error, consult a qualified lawyer in your area to explore your compensation options. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or hospital responsible for your care, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills.

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