Major Surgical Errors Still Happen in U.S.
Major surgical, preventable errors, still happen in U.S. hospitals, according to a review published in JAMA Surgery. Examples of these errors are “wrong site” error (operation on the wrong side of a person’s body), or leaving behind a medical tool or sponge inside a person after surgery. The researchrs estimated that wrong site errors happen in 1 in 100,000 surgeries and that in 1 out of every 10,000 procedures, doctors leave something behind in a patient’s body.
Experts referr to these as "never events" because they never should happen.
Researchers reviewed 138 studies published from 2004 to 2014 that reported on at least one of three types of errors: wrong site surgeries, leaving an item behind a person, and surgical fires. The data available were varied and limited but researchers did find that there was usually a unique set of factors and circumstances behind these sort of errors. They found one consistent theme was communication problems including miscommunication among staff, missing information, surgical team members not speaking up, or not listening to suspicions.
In order to avoid future errors, researchers said better tracking of errors, as well as tracking near misses of errors, was necessary to prevent these surgical mistakes.