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Surgical errors are a common cause of medical malpractice claims

New York readers might be concerned to learn that surgical procedures can be dangerous for both patients and doctors, according to a recent study. In fact, the report found that surgery errors are the second most common reason that patients file medical malpractice claims against their doctors.

Researchers from Coverys, a Boston-based medical liability insurer, examined data from medical malpractice claims that were closed between 2014 and 2018. They found that surgery mistakes were a factor in 25% of all claims. Of those claims, 78% involved errors made by the surgeon during the procedure. Some of the specific errors listed in the claims included leaving a foreign body inside the patient, performing an unnecessary procedure, wrong-site surgery and delayed surgery.

The study found that general surgeries were most likely to result in malpractice lawsuits, accounting for 22% of all claims. Meanwhile, orthopedic surgeries were the second most likely, accounting for 17% of all claims, and neurosurgeries were the third most likely, accounting for 8% of all claims. The study also found that 9% of all surgery-related claims resulted in the death of a patient and 29% resulted in “permanent significant” injuries or worse. To help reduce the risk of surgical errors, the authors of the study suggested that surgeons ensure the participation of patients, use shared decision-making techniques and document comprehensive informed consent discussions. They also urged hospitals to create distraction-free environments in their operating rooms.

Victims of surgical errors might find relief by contacting a medical malpractice law firm as soon as possible. After reviewing the merits of the case, attorneys at the firm might recommend filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible doctor and hospital. This action might result in a settlement that covers a victim’s current and future medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more.