NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. Surgeons call them “never events.” These are events that the medical community agrees should never take place: major surgical errors, foreign objects left in patient’s bodies, surgery on the wrong body part. While patients would like to believe these are incredibly rare events—the medical equivalent of lightning strikes—the reality is that these events occur with frightening frequency.
According to a recent Johns Hopkins University medical malpractice study, researchers found that in a given week in America, surgeons may leave foreign objects in patient’s bodies as often as 39 times. As many as 20 patients may have the wrong procedure performed. And, in a given week, 20 patients may have a surgeon operate on the wrong body site. According to researchers, these estimates may be conservative.
The study looked at the National Practitioner Data Bank in order to identify successful medical malpractice judgments and claims. However, these events may occur more frequently than successful judgments indicate. In other words, there may be more errors than there are successful cases. Doctors and hospitals are often reluctant to admit errors. And, many patients may not be aware that these medical malpractice errors took place unless they experience complications. In fact, for many families, it isn’t until they seek the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney, that they begin to get answers about their loved one’s complications. The Bowling Law Firm has the resources to handle difficult and complicated medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one has experienced serious surgical complications, contact our firm today to learn more.
Hospitals have been taking additional steps to prevent medical malpractice events from taking place, including using bar codes to track surgical equipment and taking time outs before surgeries to double check that the right patient and the right procedure is being performed. However, not all hospitals have the procedures in place to adequately protect their patients—and many believe that more can be done.Medical malpractice errors are not limited to surgical mistakes. Misdiagnosis can be just as deadly and dangerous. According to the Washington Post, in 10 to 20 percent of cases, diagnoses are missed or delayed. Diagnostic errors often happen in primary care settings and can take place because of flawed thinking on the part of the doctor. In many cases, the illnesses are not rare, but actually easily detected.
Diagnostic errors can lead to serious complications. For instance, cancer misdiagnosis can require patients to undergo longer treatments, more surgeries, and may lead to greater risk of death or complications. Many patients who suffer from misdiagnosis never seek compensation from the doctor or doctors who initially made the error. This means that doctors who already may be suffering from overconfidence in their abilities never learn that they’ve made a mistake, leading to more overconfidence—and possibly more errors.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by medical malpractice, you may benefit from seeking the counsel of a medical malpractice attorney. The Bowling Law Firm in New Orleans handles a range of medical malpractice cases, from surgical errors to medical misdiagnosis. Contact us today to learn more. We’ll review your case and offer you and your loved ones a roadmap forward.