According to the CDC, there are more than 51 million inpatient surgeries in the United States each year. These procedures include endoscopy, hip and knee replacement, hysterectomy, and open heart surgery (i). Doctors and surgeons have a duty to provide patients with treatment that meets the reasonable the standard of care. This includes avoiding errors during surgery.
Researchers at The John Hopkins University School of Medicine recently studied the frequency of this type of medical malpractice. The study published in the medical journal, Surgery, found 9,744 settlements for “surgical never events occurring between 1990 and 2010.” These settlements totaled nearly $1.3 billion. “Surgical never events” are mistakes that “should never occur.” They include invasive procedures on the wrong patient or wrong part of the body as well as leaving foreign objects in a patient. The study estimated that this type of medical negligence occurs more than 4,000 times each year in the United States (ii).
Rhode Island’s NBC 10 recently reported the story of a woman who experienced one of these “never events.” Terri Fournier was implanted with a “port” by doctors at Miriam Hospital in order to make it easier to administer chemotherapy medicine for her treatment of breast cancer. The port was removed after she finished treatment but four years later she had trouble breathing. An x-ray revealed that a piece of the port had been left in the body and attached itself to her jugular. The placement of the device makes it risky to remove but leaving it in the body also poses a serious risk (iii).
Attorney Paul d’Oliveira stated, “During inpatient surgery, the slightest departure from the reasonable standard of care can cause serious and disabling injuries. Surgical errors can be caused by many types of negligence. In some cases, the surgical site is not properly marked, the surgeon lacks experience or training, or the hospital staff is in too big of a hurry. In many cases, patients are literally placing their life in the hands of their surgeons and they deserve proper treatment. Our law firms works with experienced attorney who handle these types of cases and we are ready to talk to you about your injuries.”
The surgical errors infographic helps people who have been injured recognize medical malpractice and provides information regarding compensation. d’Oliveira & Associates handles many kinds of injury and disability claims throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The law firm works with some of the more experienced medical malpractice lawyers who handle these lawsuits and there is no legal fee unless a settlement or award is obtained. To contact the firm call toll-free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form on their website.
- (i) Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Inpatient Surgery.
- (ii) Medical Journal, Surgery, April 2013.
- (iii) NBC 10 Rhode Island, June 7, 2013.