How common are surgical errors?

How common are surgical errors?

When it comes to surgical procedures, you often have no choice but to trust your physician. While you may feel nervous going into the operation, the fact that the doctor may make a life-threatening mistake might never cross your mind. The truth is that surgical errors are made across the country every day. No state, even Maryland, is immune from this danger. Amednews.com details what you need to know about the risks of surgical errors.

First, you cannot judge a doctor’s proficiency on his or her age or experience. Between 20 and 36 percent of mistakes occurred in each age group of surgeons, with the exception being a smaller number of errors made by surgeons over age 60, a group that also includes fewer physicians.

Some states have reported a rise in surgical errors every year. While efforts are continually being made to reduce the number of mistakes, these continue to occur. Common reasons for errors include assistants who are too scared to speak up, inattention, improper marking of surgical sites and communication lapses. Around 40 mistakes involving needles, sponges, and other items and 40 surgeries of the wrong site happen each week.

Since approximately 50 million surgeries are done every week, the likelihood of a surgical error happening to you is one in 12,248. While these mistakes are rare, they can also be very serious and even deadly. Researchers are working to bring light to this problem and search for a solution. This information is meant to educate and should not be taken as medical or legal advice.