Category – Surgical Negligence
Physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals are required to perform their duties in compliance with standards of care accepted by the medical community. Leaving foreign objects in a patients’ body after surgery (including surgical sponges) is normally regarded as a deviation from those standards as such an action may result in permanent injury or death of a patient.
As reported by MDNEWS.com, a study published by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses in their AORN Journal, the causes of retained sponges following surgical procedures include a variety of events or circumstances that occur at different points during a surgery, such as the miscounting of sponges at various times during surgical procedures.
The results of the study identified 57 cases of potential sponge counting failures. The leading causes for these failures were:
- Not following procedure; and
- Time pressure.
At Blume Goldfaden, our experienced surgical mishap lawyers in New Jersey are committed to helping victims of medical malpractice investigate and pursue claims for harm caused by medical neglect. If you have suffered illness or injury as the result of a healthcare professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation if your claim is meritorious. Contact one of our medical malpractice attorneys today to evaluate your potential claim at no cost to you at 973-635-5400.
The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation released mandatory rules to help prevent wrong-site surgery. The rules include standards on preoperative verification of patient information, the marking of the proper surgical site as well as taking “time out” to verify this information prior to the procedure.
According to a recent Washington Post article, some researchers and patient safety experts have noted that the occurrence of wrong-site surgery has not improved and may actually be worsening. Officials of the Joint Commission approximate that wrong-site surgeries take place 40 times a week in United States hospitals and clinics. In 2010, there were 93 reported cases of wrong-site surgeries; compared to 49 in 2004.
Former New York State health commissioner, and Joint Commission President, Mark Chassin, stated that such medical errors may be rising partially due to increased time pressures. Mr. Chassin also said that preventing wrong-site surgery is difficult to eradicate since doctors usually value their independence, resist checklists and underestimate their likelihood of making a mistake. Safety expert and Medical Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, Peter Pronovost, noted that studies of wrong-site errors have repeatedly showed a failure of physicians to participate in a “timeout” before beginning surgery to confirm patient identity, information, and surgical site.
A process of altering the culture at hospitals and getting medical professionals to change their routines and habits to limit the number of errors is required. Wrong-site surgical mistakes are considered to be preventable, and, are therefore, categorized as “never events” since they should never happen.
As New Jersey surgical error attorneys, we understand the physical, emotional and financial consequences that surgical mistakes cause. If you were harmed as a result of surgical error, call us at 973-635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently discussed a study in an article about trends in hospital volume and operative mortality for high-risk surgery. In the study, data from Medicare claims made nation-wide were used to assess patterns in high-volume hospitals which surgically treat cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study also evaluated concurrent trends in operative mortality rates connected to these surgeries at these high-volume hospitals. In gathering data for the study, patient information was considered regarding treatment of those from 65 to 99 years of age, from 1999 to 2008, who experienced one of these eight cancer and/or cardiovascular operations:
- lung resection,
- repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA),
- coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG),
- carotid endarterectomy, and
- aortic-valve replacement.
Over 3.2 million Medicare patients were treated with one of these procedures in hospitals throughout the United States during this time period.
Analysis of the national Medicare data demonstrated that in the U.S. there has been an increase in these surgeries; mostly in relation to intricate cancer resections. The study found that from 1999 to 2008, the operative mortality rate for these procedures decreased (ranging from 8 percent to 36 percent). This result comports with other studies that report trends toward declining mortality in relation to high-risk surgery.
While technological advances, the use of checklists in the operating room and enhancements in perioperative and intensive care can all be associated with the decrease in mortality, tens of thousands of patients in the U.S. who have inpatient surgery still die each year from complications and issues pertaining to their procedures and post-operative care.
The New Jersey surgical mishap lawyers at Blume Goldfaden have decades of experience obtaining favorable jury verdicts and settlements for our clients in medical malpractice matters. Our personal injury law firm insists on only handling meritorious cases, and, if you have any questions regarding the adequacy of your medical care, we encourage you to call us at 973-635-5400 for a no-cost consultation and case screening.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services inspected 40 unlicensed surgical centers at random between August 2009 and February 2011. According to an NJ.com article, several violations discovered by inspectors have raised concern about patient safety and the quality of care provided to them. Health advocates and some officials are joining forces to have New Jersey require routine inspections of all same-day surgery centers.
There are at least 300 same-day surgery centers in New Jersey. However, not all of these surgery centers are licensed or regularly inspected for potential health risks and violations. In New Jersey, surgery centers that only have one operating room are not required to have a license. New Jersey requires surgery centers with two or more operating rooms to have a license and receive inspections approximately every three years.
Same-day surgery centers often appeal to patients who are seeking speedy, convenient service for elective surgery. With new data suggesting a concerning presence of violations, some patients may think twice about going to one of these facilities. Inspectors conducting the same-day surgery center sweep determined that 17 unlicensed centers presented an “immediate jeopardy” to patient health and safety, temporarily shutting down seven until specific problems are fixed. The state also examined 51 licensed surgery centers and determined that 8 presented “immediate jeopardy”, closing two of them for the time being.
Some of the most common problems detected by inspectors included improperly sterilized equipment, and, discharging patients before a doctor’s examination. Other problems included failing to fix unsanitary conditions, splitting single-dose drugs between numerous patients, giving patients expired mediation, and prefilling unlabeled syringes.
Medical professionals, such as doctors, anesthesiologists and nurses, are responsible for providing a high standard of care to patients. Unfortunately, mistakes during surgery, medication errors, sleep deprivation, miscommunication, and unsterile equipment can increase the possibility of serious illness, injury, and even death.
At Blume Goldfaden, our New Jersey surgical negligence attorneys have decades of experience obtaining successful case results for various types of medical malpractice, including informed consent violations, anesthesia accidents, surgical mishaps, birth injuries, and other acts of negligence on the part of a hospital or medical professional. For a no-cost consultation of your potential claim, call 973-635-5400.
Wrong-Site Surgery and Wrong Procedure Concerns Highlighted by Incorrect Operation on Woman’s Left Hand
A 65-year-old woman diagnosed with idiopathic trigger finger underwent surgery only to have the wrong procedure performed. A New England Journal of Medicine article discusses the circumstances surrounding the surgeon’s account of how carpal-tunnel release surgery was performed by accident instead of the correct operation for a trigger-finger release. The article also addresses initiatives that have been created and instituted for medical personnel as a way to help lower instances of wrong-site surgery and the performance of incorrect surgical procedures.
In 1998, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) developed a “Sign Your Site” program in which surgeons would label the surgical site with their initials. The AAOS had hoped that the initiative would decrease the number of wrong-site surgeries. However, the number of cases documented displayed an increasing number of wrong-site surgeries in the United States.
The article states that a recent survey of AAOS members revealed that 5.6% of reported medical errors were wrong-site procedures or wrong procedures. Of these, about 59% involved the wrong side of the patient’s body (left vs. right), 23% related to another wrong site (i.e. the wrong finger on the correct hand), 14% involved the wrong procedure, and 5% accounted for incidents involving the wrong patient. The knee, finger, hand, foot, and ankle are the most common sites for wrong-site procedures and wrong procedures.
Although wrong-site surgery can take place within all surgical areas of specialty, it is reported to be most common among orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons, with approximately 68% of claims in the U.S. relating to orthopedic surgery.
Surgical mishaps can potentially injure or otherwise cause harm to a patient before, during, and after a surgical procedure. While every instance of surgical error may not result in a meritorious medical malpractice claim, there are some circumstances that do justify filing a claim. The New Jersey surgical negligence attorneys at Blume Goldfaden have the resources and experience to handle a wide range of medical malpractice cases, and have successfully represented patients as a result of wrong-site surgery. Call our firm at 973-635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.