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Medical Errors Found in Nearly 50% of Surgeries

Richard A. Silver

September 15, 2016 

Over the years, I have written much about the impact of medical errors in medical malpractice cases, and now a new study has found them to be a much larger problem than previously thought — medical errors or unintended drug side effects occur in nearly 50% of surgeries.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston recently looked at 277 procedures that had a high prevalence of medical errors and found that the number of medical errors was higher than previously reported because those studies relied of self-reported medical errors.

The most commonly observed errors involved administering incorrect dosages of medications. Of those perioperative medication errors that might have led to patient harm, less than 2% percent were considered life-threatening, 69% were considered serious and 30% were considered significant.

Once again, as the healthcare profession continues to study medical errors more carefully to determine their cause, frequency and impact on patient care, strategies can be developed and procedures implemented that will reduce – and one day eliminate – this unnecessary cause of patient suffering. That day cannot come soon enough.

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