Going Under the Knife is Risky Due to Potential Medical Malpractice in the Operating Room By Tod Aronovitz | 02/19/15 | 0 Comment

Surgery is often riskier for patients than it needs to be due to the possibility of human error and negligence in hospitals. The Wall Street Journal reported in a Feb. 16 article, “How to Make Surgery Safer,” that 46–65 percent of adverse events in hospitals are related to surgery, according to the publication Patient Safety in Surgery.

Johns Hopkins Surgery and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrate the extent and frequency of this medical malpractice dilemma throughout the United States as a result of their findings. Preventable errors and problems occur on a regular basis such as:

  • Surgeon Leaving Foreign Object Inside a Patient’s Body = 39 times each week
  • Surgeon Performing the Wrong Procedure on a Patient = 20 times each week
  • Surgeon Operating on the Wrong Side = 20 times each week

In addition, 157,000 surgical-site infections were reported in 2013.

These types of appalling ‘never events’—or the types of problems that should never occur in the first place—are what lead to lawsuits, according to Miami medical malpractice attorney Tod Aronovitz.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins estimate that there are 4,082 medical malpractice claims each year for ‘never events.’ Their 2012 study looked at 10,000 cases from 1990 through 2010 and found that ‘never events’ led to temporary injury in 59.2% of patients; permanent injury in 32.9% of patients; and death in 6.6% of patients. The total payout in those lawsuits added up to $1.3 billion.

Safety and quality issues are primary causes of surgical errors in medical malpractice lawsuits. These issues include:

  • Pre-operative Patient Care – failing to delay elective surgery in high-risk patients
  • Anesthesia Complications – such as allergic reactions and genetic susceptibility to adverse reactions
  • Blood Clots – especially traveling to lungs after surgery
  • Disruptive or Intimidating Surgeon Behavior – to staffers and nurses affecting their performance and ability to point out mistakes
  • Operating Room Fires – lack of knowledge about combustible effects of electrical devises and oxygen that create fires causing burns on patients’ skin and internal burn injuries
  • Postoperative Patient Care – lack of thorough monitoring causing infection; overuse of narcotic painkillers

In light of Washington overhauling the medical-reimbursement system by the end of 2018, many hospitals are implementing quality improvement programs to correct these issues, especially since 50% of Medicare payments to doctors will focus on the quality of care instead of the quantity of care, the article reported.

Some steps include pre-operative patient care that better predicts high-risk outcomes from surgery and anesthesia by assessing allergic reactions to drugs and genetic susceptibility; using big data to specifically determine an individual patient’s risk; delaying elective procedures in patients who have high-risk criteria; incorporating technology, such as sponges with radio-frequency ID tags, to avoid error of surgical objects being left in patients; training doctors and medical staff on how to prevent fires and practicing fire drills; and employing teamwork programs that review a checklist before patients are operated on with zero-tolerance policies on intimidating behavior from surgeons.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Representing Consumers in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases

The Miami medical malpractice law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW pursues justice for Florida citizens who have been injured by the wrongful actions or omissions of another individual, government agency, or corporation. In addition to medical malpractice, we can assist you with civil litigation including consumer class action litigation, whistleblower cases, product liability, and wrongful death cases.

Contact Miami, Florida medical malpractice attorney Tod Aronovitz for a confidential discussion of your case.