According to a study that was published in Surgery and based on data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, there are several thousand avoidable surgical errors made every year. These mistakes have led to a medical malpractice payouts totaling over $1.3 billion.
In a 20-year period, nearly 10,000 events resulted in paid malpractice suits, and that leads researchers to estimate that 4,000 avoidable surgical errors are made every year. The study has estimated that on a weekly basis, surgeons will leave a sponge or towel or other object in a patient’s body 39 times, that 20 operations will be on the wrong body part and that the wrong procedure will be performed 20 times.
However, these numbers may actually be less than the number of errors that are made. Not all surgical errors are reported by hospitals, and in some cases, the error is not discovered. Generally, mistakes are only recognized and documented when a patient has complications following their procedure. Of those who suffer a surgical error, 59 percent are injured, 33 percent suffer permanent injury and 6.6 percent of cases result in the patient dying.
When surgical errors are made, there are a variety of medical conditions that may result, and hospitals may not be upfront about the circumstances or covering the cost of treatment that is required due to the mistakes. If someone or their family member has been harmed due to the actions of a physician, they may have legal recourse, and a lawyer may be able to explain what options are available and help them pursue legal action.