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Surgical Errors Archives

Surgical errors that should never happen

Some surgical errors are never supposed to happen.  These are called "never events."  Yet about 80 times a week, U.S. patients undergoing surgery experience a mistake that should never happen.  These include leaving surgical instruments, needles or sponges inside the patient, operating on the wrong part of the body, or operating on the wrong patient entirely.  This can include everything from removing the wrong breast in a mastectomy, or the wrong kidney in a nephrectomy, to cutting into the left lung when it is the right lung that needs the procedure.  The consequences of these unacceptable mistakes range from a temporary harm to a permanent injury.  Payouts for these procedures over a 10 year period have ranged up to $7 million.  Over the last several years, Medicare, Medicaid, and some insurance companies have taken the position that they will not pay the medical bills for these "never event" surgeries.

Planned Parenthood pays $2 million settlement

A circuit court in Illinois has agreed to a $2 million settlement in the death of a 24-year-old woman who died after an abortion procedure at a Planned Parenthood facility in Chicago. In what may have been a surgical error, the woman began bleeding following the procedure and was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Court documents indicate that the settlement from Planned Parenthood will be held in trust for the woman's minor son.

Surgical equipment left inside patient; malpractice lawsuit filed

Patients in Illinois may want to learn about a medical malpractice suit that was filed by a woman and her husband after surgeons found a surgical glove left in her abdominal cavity during a previous surgery. The Montana couple is suing physicians at Creighton University Medical Center and Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Nebraska for failure to tell her the initial surgery was unlikely to help her get pregnant, professional negligence and damaging her family relationships.

Robotic surgery injuries under-reported

Patients in Chicago, Illinois, and elsewhere may be interested in a developing investigation into multiple cases of serious injury after the use of robotic devices in surgery. One woman who underwent a hysterectomy with a robotic surgical device suffered a punctured intestine, which led to septic shock and other issues. A man who went through prostate removal surgery with a robotic device suffered nerve damage to multiple limbs.

Surgical simulators may improve operation outcomes

Illinois doctors may be able to improve their skills in the operating room before ever entering one by using surgical simulators. When a doctor is attempting to learn a new procedure or get a hands-on experience, they have one of two options: operating on a patient or using a virtual-reality program that mimics the actual process. The obvious advantage of a simulator is that a surgical error is simply logged into a computer instead of having a negative impact on a patient.

Technology not to blame in robotic surgery injuries

When a mistake is made during a robotic surgical procedure in an Illinois hospital, it is more than likely not due to a problem with the technology being used. According to findings presented at the AAGL Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology, over 30 percent of the time, a surgical error during a robotic procedure is due to operator error or robot failure.

800 surgical tools left in patients since 2005

Illinois residents who seek medical care may be concerned to hear that there have been nearly 800 instances of surgical implements being left in patients since 2005. This information comes from the The Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure that hospitals employ and enforce practices that prevent these surgical errors from occurring. According to a spokesperson for the group, this issue is well-known and easily avoidable.

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AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for JUSTICE | Formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) | MEMBER -2013

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FAQ Medical Malpractice

Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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