By Andrea K. Walker
6:01 AM EST, December 28, 2012
U.S surgeons leave a foreign object in a patient at least 39 times a week.
They perform the wrong procedure on a patient at least 20 times a week.
And they operate on the wrong body part at least 20 times a week.
That is what Johns Hopkins researchers found when they analyzed malpractice claims between 1990 and 2010.
The researchers conservatively estimate that 80,000 such preventable, surgical mistakes - which the medical profession defines as those that should never occur - happened in that 20-year time period.
The study, led by Dr. Marty Markary, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, examined cases from the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal repository of medical malpractice claims. They looked at 9,744 paid judgements and claims totaling $1.3 billion over 20 years. They found that more than 4,044 preventable events that should never happen take place each year in the United States.
Makary said better surgical procedures and reporting systems are needed to prevent adverse events during surgery.
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