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Mayo identifies common human errors in surgery mistakes

Ohio patients may be interested in the results of a recently-published study dealing with with surgical errors. These mistakes, deemed "never events" because they are never supposed to happen, include doing wrong side or wrong site surgery, putting in the wrong implant, leaving an object in a person after surgery and doing the wrong procedure. They occurred in 69 out of 1.5 million procedures over five years at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and none of them were fatal.

Researchers identified four to nine behaviors per never event and categorized the 628 human errors they found in total into four different groups. Preconditions for actions included behaviors such as overconfidence, fatigue and poor communication. Supervisory problems, problems in organizational process and culture, and unsafe actions were the other three categories.

The errors identified were also one of four types. They included leaving an object in a person, operating on the wrong site or the wrong side of the body, putting in the wrong implant and doing the wrong procedure. In an effort to reduce the chance of these types of never events, Mayo has put procedures in place that include a sponge counting method and safety guidelines from the World Health Organization. Open communication among medical professionals is also encouraged.

Despite these precautions, errors may still occur, and a serious surgical error can leave an individual injured. Whether the impact on the patient's life is temporary or permanent, the consequences may be severe. Those who have been affected may wish to consult an attorney to discuss whether medical malpractice occurred, and if so, the procedure to be followed in attempting to seek compensation for their damages.

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