Medical Malpractice Claims from Surgical Errors (oops!)

USA Today reports on a disturbing trend in the medical field.  Apparently – and this has been going on for a long time – surgeons are operating on parts of the body that are perfectly healthy, instead of operating on those parts of the body that are in need of surgery.  Example, removing a perfectly good arm or operating on the wrong lung.  Now that is bad.  But, surgeons are people just like you and I.  But, notwithstanding that, that is why we have medical malpractice law to see to it that doctors and medical personnel perform their job "reasonably."

Here is an excerpt from the article provided by USA Today:

"Last year, health care facilities reported 84 operations to the commission that involved the wrong body part or the wrong patient. While some states require hospitals to report such blunders, many hospitals across the nation are not obligated to account for them publicly.

A new study documents cases in which surgeons operated on the wrong arm, the wrong rib and in one case the wrong person, among other mistakes.

The study of 2.8 million operations over a 20-year period, published in today’s Archives of Surgery, suggests that the rate of "wrong site" surgery anywhere other than the spine is 1 in every 112,994 operations. The study excludes the spine, the authors explain, because surgical sites on the spine are verified with X-rays, in contrast to the apparent simplicity of marking the correct knee or ear in advance.

The study, funded by the federal Agency for health care Research and Quality, concludes that the rate is "exceedingly rare" but "unacceptable.""