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The nationwide problem of surgical errors

There is often nothing scarier than going into a major surgery. Even when the procedure is small, knowing that one is placing complete trust in the hands of medical professionals can be a stressful aspect all on its own. Many Louisiana patients may wonder: how common are surgical mistakes, and is there any way to reduce the chances of an error? 

As Live Science shares, major surgical mistakes still occur across the U.S., despite advanced technology in the medical field. 1 in every 100,000 surgeries results in a “wrong-site” error; in 1 out of every 10,000 procedures, doctors leave medical objects in the patient’s body. The main reason? According to LS, a lack of communication is to blame. However, there are a number of errors (known as “never” events, since the mistakes should never happen in the first place) with causes that remain unclear. The types of surgeries that result in these catastrophic mistakes vary. When it comes to “never” events, most medical professionals agree that better tracking of incidents — as well as stronger communication among staff — could help address the problem.

No matter the type of surgery, knowing what to expect can help ease the stress. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons outlines a number of steps patients can take to ensure a safe surgery, and urges readers to consider the following factors before any procedure:

  • Medical history
  • Current medications
  • Allergies
  • Any other questions or concerns

In addition to checking the above boxes, patients can bring copies of medical records for surgeons. These records can give medical staff a clear picture of the patient’s history, and can help them prepare in the case of an emergency. While it may be impossible to rule out all chances of a mistake during surgery, providing a full medical background can help doctors react appropriately in the case of an error. 

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