Thursday, April 25, 2013

Over 40044 never events in US annually - preventing & acknowledging Medical Errors

Never-events are the kind of medical mistakes that should simply not occur. Despite this, such events occur more often than people believe, according to a recent study by patient safety researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland published in the April issue of the journal Surgery..

As per the study “a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or towel inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week, and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week.” 4044 never-events occur in the United States each year.
Surgeons between the ages of 40 and 49 years are responsible for more than one third of the events, whereas surgeons older than 60 years are responsible for 14.4%.
6 in 10 of the surgeons involved in a never-event are named in more than 1 separate malpractice report, and more than 1 in 10 are involved in at least 1 separate surgical never-event.
Comments: There are many things that are wrong with the US healthcare system, BUT their transparency & openness regarding the mistakes that they make is commendable. As doctors in India we too have all heard & seen surgical & medical 'never-events' that have occurred, however unfortunately there is no documentation, and hence no chance of correcting the systematic errors that lead to such errors in the first place.

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