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New study finds large number of post-surgical errors

A new study suggests that surgery patients experience on average five post-surgery errors, such as infection or post-surgical bleeding, throughout the course of their post-operation recovery period. Furthermore, the report found that nearly half of post-surgery errors involve procedural mistakes that could result in real harm to patients and lead to serious medical malpractice claims. For Maryland patients, the data from the report might provide helpful information on how to deal with these potential medical errors.

Although the research was conducted at a large teaching hospital in the United Kingdom, some experts who specialize in patient safety in the United States believe that the findings of the UK research are applicable to teaching hospitals here as well. That would certainly include some of the major medical institutions in Maryland.

According to some observers, uncovering hospital errors is no big surprise. But while the findings may not be astonishing, it does beg a deeper look into medical errors during surgery recovery. The hope is that the research will lead to a better understanding of the root causes of some of these accidents. During the study, hospital researchers tracked nearly 50 patients who underwent non-emergency surgery between 2008 and 2010 and identified 352 medical mistakes, 256 of which were process failures.

Any medical error, whether it occurs during an operation or after, can have very serious consequences. If someone is injured due to a surgery error or post-surgery error they may be entitled to damages. Damages for medical mistakes can include everything from medical costs and lost wages to punitive damages. Patients can also recover money for the pain and suffering that they endured as a direct result of the harm caused by their doctor's mistake.

Source: Reuters, "Study finds errors in post-surgery care are common," Kerry Grens, Oct. 2, 2012

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