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Can surgical errors be avoided?

If you are like many people in New York, you are shocked and concerned every time you hear about a medical error - especially one that results in the death of a patient. Sadly, these events happen all too often. Some research in recent years even indicates that only cancer and heart disease claim more lives than medical errors in the United States every year. There are many types of medical mistakes that may occur. Some involve medication, others involve diagnosis problems and others are related to surgeries.

Becker's Hospital Review provided a review of the results of one study that was recently published in JAMA Open Network that took a look at the causes of some surgical errors. Out of 188 adverse events that resulted from surgeries reviewed in the study, 56% were influenced by some type of human error. That means the actions or inactions of surgeons, surgical nurses or other health care professionals caused harm to patients.

The study noted that the biggest contributors to these errors involved poor attention on the part of medical staff, cognitive bias and even a lack of recognition. The report highlights the need for hospitals to increase training to focus on these areas in an effort to improve safety for patients. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in New York an overview of some of the factors that may contribute to surgical errors or other types of medical mistakes and when these things may need to be addressed.

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