The New York Times recently wrote on a blog report identifying what kind of medical error accounts for most malpractice payments. As it turns out, it is not surgical mistakes, medication errors or labor and delivery mishaps.
A recent article highlighted the significant number of medical malpractice incidents when foreign objects are left in patients following surgeries. Peter Eisler, on behalf of USA Today, wrote the informative article discussing how these medical mistakes cost victims unnecessary pain, suffering, and sometimes even their lives. Number wise, Mr. Eisler indicated that dozens of times a day throughout our country patients leave the operating room with surgical items, instruments, and equipment in their bodies. Medically, however, all healthcare providers recognize these mistakes are truly preventable, and in the medical field they are often referred to as "never events."
I recently read an article that gave several tips about medical care that may be helpful. The publication was from the Bottom Line - Personal, and it was in the January 15, 2013 edition.
It is estimated that there are 4,000 cases of "retained surgical items" reported in the United States on an annual basis. And many think that this number is way too low. In a recent article, the New York Times analyzed the method used by surgical teams to avoid leaving surgical instruments and sponges in the patients' body following surgery. Items left include clamps, scalpels, scissors, and suturing devices. The most common retain surgical item is a sponge. These sponges (or towels as they are sometimes referred to) are often used by surgeons to soak up blood. During longer operations, doctors may use dozens of these inside a patient to control bleeding. But keeping track of the number of sponges going in and number of sponges going out can often be difficult in a chaotic environment of the surgical suite.