Written By: James Lewis, Esq.
Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The medical community has a term of certain medical mistakes and surgical errors that are totally unacceptable and should never occur. They are aptly known as “never events.” Unfortunately, a recent study by Johns Hopkins University discovered that over 4,000 so-called “never events,” like leaving a sponge inside a patient’s body, operating on the wrong patient, or on the wrong body part, occur in the U.S. every year.
The Johns Hopkins study used data in the National Practitioner Data Bank, which is a federal repository of medical malpractice jury verdicts judgments and settlements. The researched looked at cases involving leaving an object inside a patient, wrong-site surgeries, wrong procedures and wrong-patient surgeries, according to the Wall Street Journal. Surgeons make the mistakes listed above, and other horrific errors, more than 4,000 times a year in the U.S.
If the frequency isn’t bad enough, the ramifications of the mistakes are truly disturbing. The study revealed that close to forty percent of medical mistake victims either died or suffered permanent, life-altering injuries. That’s a staggeringly high percentage.
This study provides empirical evidence that drastic measures need to be taken to address preventable medical mistakes. We should have a uniform reporting system and a database for patients to review the error rate of the hospital they may wind up being admitted to.