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Causes and prevalence of certain types of medical malpractice

Medical care professionals in Massachusetts often have difficult jobs. Many are expected to work unreasonable jobs, dealing with unreasonable patients. However, making correct decisions and adequately communicating with a patient's medical care team can often prevent a serious mistake. A recent study looked at several types of medical malpractice.

The study primarily involved what professionals term "never events." These events include performing surgery on the wrong body part or wrong patient as well as leaving surgical instruments or materials inside a patient. These are events that researchers say should never happen.

Fortunately, the good news is that these events are relatively rare with wrong site surgeries occurring approximately 1 in every 100,000 surgeries. A foreign object is left in a patient in approximately 1 in 10,000 procedures. While rare, these events are likely preventable, and some believe that they occur as a result of a lack of communication. This includes failure to provide information as well as providing inaccurate information or ignoring or failing to address the suspicions of surgical team members. Because there is little tracking of these events, including near misses, doctors and other medical care professionals likely do not have access to important information that would allow them to learn from others mistakes.

Although they are rare, "never events" are serious forms of medical malpractice. They could result in additional surgeries as well as pain and suffering and reduced earning capacity. Those who are suffering from such acts in Massachusetts have the right to seek legal recourse in a civil court. If negligence can be proved, a court could order an award of damages to help offset many of the financial and other repercussions of such a mistake.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "This Is Why Horrific Surgical Mistakes Still Happen In The U.S.", Laura Geggel, June 15, 2015

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