Leaving a medical instrument inside a body’s patient, operating on the wrong body part, or worse, operating the wrong person – these are all medical errors that are so obvious one might think that they never happen in the medical world. But no matter how obvious these mistakes are, it is still surprising that in the U.S., many patients have suffered from these errors.
In a study that evaluated 9,744 paid malpractice claims for these events from September 1990 to September 2010, half of the cases involved a retained medical device, while the other half involved claims where the surgeon performed operation on the wrong body part. 17 of the 9,744 cases reported about operating on the wrong person.
Unfortunately, these types of medical errors greatly increase the risk of permanent injury and death. In the study, 59% of people who experienced one of the events suffered from a temporary injury, while a third of them suffered from a permanent injury. Tragically, 6.6% of them died.