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Study finds medical malpractice relatively common in surgery

When faced with surgery, Oregon patients fully expect their procedures to go smoothly with no complications. That is not always the case, however, as mistakes caused by hospital staff negligence can happen at even the best Eugene medical facilities. These mistakes can cause serious, life-altering injuries in which long-term treatment is required. In the most serious of cases, patient death may occur.

There are certain mistakes that surgeons as a group agree should never happen. These mistakes include accidentally leaving surgical equipment in the body, operating on the wrong body part or operating on the wrong patient. However, new research suggests that these mistakes are more common than Oregonians would like to believe.

The study found that these types of medical mistakes happen around 500 times per year. It also found that, between 1990 and 2010, over 9,700 medical malpractice claims were settled. Of those cases, nearly half of those were ones in which a surgeon accidently left an object inside a patient. The majority of other cases involved surgeons performing the wrong procedure or operating on the wrong body part. Seventeen of the cases involved medical procedures being performed on the wrong patient.

Perhaps the most important thing for Oregon patients to gather from the study is that these mistakes are preventable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a surgical mistake, you may be entitled to file a civil claim against the responsible parties. A consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help to protect the legal rights of those that have become the victim of such incidents.

Source: Red Orbit, "Study shows medical errors are commonplace in surgery," Lawrence LeBlond, Dec. 21, 2012

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