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How likely are surgical errors?

There are very few people who enjoy being in hospitals, even though many good things happen in health care facilities. Most American lives begin in a hospital, and most major traumas and illnesses are treated in one. Although hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are the largest threat to health in most emergency rooms, the possibility of a surgeon's error is high enough to be significant.

What is the likelihood of a mistake in a surgical suite?

A renowned study found the chances of a surgical error are one in 112,000 or one error every five to 10 years for the average hospital. Some environments, such as veterans' affairs health care provided outside of surgical environments, may include a higher risk to patients.

What are the most common types of surgical errors?

A physician's, technician's or machine's error resulting in unnecessary pain or injury to a patient is termed a "never event" in some medical circles because it should never be allowed to happen. A recent study determined the most likely type of error is an operation on the wrong side of a patient or organ. A wrong-site surgery on the correct side or a wrong procedure is also an occasional cause.

What are the best ways to avoid surgical errors?

Communication with surgeons as close to the procedure as possible is often helpful. A lawsuit against a doctor, hospital or system for the causes of a surgical error can also help guarantee an issue never repeated. An attorney can help victims of surgical errors assess this as an option, including financial damages for recovery.

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ALTON —Like any successful trial lawyer, John Hopkins knows the importance of preparation. But he usually doesn’t write out the questions he plans to ask witnesses in depositions or in court.

View Article “I like to react to what the witness is saying—not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it,” Hopkins says.

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