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U.S. Doctors Make a Shocking Amount of Mistakes


According to the article “Oops! Doctors Screw Up Surprisingly Often”  published by Live Science, U.S. doctors make a shocking amount of careless mistakes such as leaving a scalpel in someone’s body after surgery.

Authors of an analysis published their findings in the journal Surgery on Dec. 19, 2012. They based their results on malpractice records that documented instances of mistakes such as operating on the wrong patient or body part and leaving objects inside a patient’s body after surgery.

Results from the analysis show that doctors in the U.S. leave surgical equipment such as towels, sponges, and cotton balls inside patients about 39 times per week. Results also showed that doctors operate on the wrong body part about 20 times per week, on average.

“What we describe in a study is the low end of the range. There are definitely more of these occurring,” said study co-author Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and the author of a book about hospital dysfunction called “Unaccountable” (Bloomsbury Press, 2012).

Study authors also reported that between 1990 and 2010, there were more than 80,000 major surgical errors committed in the U.S. Roughly 7 percent of the patients died and a third of them suffered permanent injuries.

The results of this study are shocking. These types of medical mistakes are preventable and should never occur. Leaving a surgical tool inside a patient’s body, for example, is the product of negligence. Hospitals should be doing more to protect their patients and to build safety into their systems.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a medical mistake caused by negligence, you should contact the Las Vegas medical malpractice lawyers at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen. We advocate for patient safety and believe these types of errors are unacceptable. To speak with an experienced attorney from our firm, please contact us today.

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