According to safety researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical School, even the most preventable surgical errors are still happening at alarming levels. These “never events” like operating on the wrong body part or leaving medical instruments inside a patient’s body are happening dozens of times every week across the country. And, according to the researchers, these types of medical mistakes are totally preventable.
At Abend & Silber, we have handled many cases involving these types of completely preventable surgical errors. Even in spite of advances in the way surgical sites are marked in the operating room, amazingly, procedures performed on the wrong body part still occur. The surgeon is the “captain of the ship” in the surgical operating room and should never rely solely on a team of assistants and nurses to make sure the correct surgical site is identified and marked prior to the surgery. Additionally, although scrub nurses have an obligation to make pre-surgical and post surgical counts of the equipment and surgical supplies that are used in the course of a surgery, the surgeon and those nurses must work together to make sure the post-surgical count matches the pre-surgical count. If these techniques are properly followed, these “never events” will live up to their name and never happen.