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New study: surgery mistakes occur 4,000 times per year

When a medical condition forces an individual to undergo surgery, anxiety can run high. These fears stem from something going wrong during the operation or a failure to remedy the situation that called for surgery in the first place. These fears are well founded. A recently released study shows that more than 4,000 preventable surgical errors occur every year. When one is victimized by a surgical error like these, she can be left with serious injuries or death.

According to the study, published in the medical journal Surgery, about 10,000 surgical mistakes occurred between 1990 and 2010. These incidences have been labeled as "never events," because they are completely preventable and should therefore never happen. These errors include performing the wrong procedure, leaving a sponge inside a patient, and operating on the wrong body part.

The numbers break down, per week, to 39 foreign objects left inside patients, 20 wrong procedures conducted, and 20 operations performed on the wrong body site. One researcher even believes that these numbers are low as many instances of surgical error go unreported.

A surgery mistake can leave a victim with a worsened medical condition, which in turn can lead to the need for long-term care or permanent disability. While these individuals will likely face years of physical rehabilitation, the care they require can be costly. Yet, some of these victims may be unable to afford the quality care they need and deserve. Legal action provides an outlet for relief.

If a victim of medical malpractice can prove that the doctor owed the patient a duty of care and that duty was breached, resulting in compensable injuries, then the victim can obtain compensation. "Never events" almost certainly qualify as medical malpractice. This means that those who have been injured by a mistake made during surgery can receive awards to help cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Then, victims can obtain the best care possible so that they can focus what matters most: physical and emotional recovery.

Source: Action News Jacksonville, "Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year," Jennifer Warner, Dec. 26, 2012

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