The high rate of medical errors is no secret. In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. But a new study shows that medical errors – particularly surgical errors – may more often than previously thought. In the first study to measure medical errors in the period immediately before, during, and after a surgical procedure, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that a mistake is made in one out of every two surgical procedures – with one-third of the errors causing injury to the patient. Of those surgical errors resulting in harm to the patient, 30 percent were considered significant, 69 percent were considered serious, and less than two percent were life-threatening. Longer procedures lasting more than six hours had a higher rate of surgical error. After analyzing more than 275 procedures at MGH, researchers found that the most common surgical errors were medication errors, specifically incorrect dosages and mislabeling of medications. “We definitely have room for improvement in preventing perioperative medication errors, and now that we understand the types of errors that are being made and their frequencies, we can begin to develop targeted strategies to prevent them,” said Karen C Nanji, the paper’s lead author. “Given that MGH is a national leader in patient safety and had already implemented approaches to improve safety in the operating room, perioperative medication error rates are probably at least as high at many other hospitals.” It is important to note that just because a medical mistake occurs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that medical malpractice was involved. In order to prove a medical malpractice claim, the injured party must show the following:
- the defendant had a duty to provide the appropriate medical care;
- the defendant failed to provide the appropriate medical care; and
- the defendant’s deviation from the appropriate standard of care caused the plaintiff to sustain injuries or damages.
If you were the victim of surgical error – or other medical mistake – you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to learn more about a possible cause of action. The Chicago medical malpractice law firm at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish is committed to helping the victims of medical malpractice obtain maximum financial recovery. If successful in proving liability, you may be able to recover money damages for the following: past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future income, household services, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, and disfigurement. Contact our office at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about the medical errors and medical malpractice laws. Sources:
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