Surgical Errors Continue

Despite the implementation of new safety procedures designed to reduce medical and surgical errors, the errors continue. This is understandable, of course, since the health care industry is run by humans, and humans make mistakes, but really, there are still more errors than there should be. The Oregonian just reported that a 4-year-old underwent surgery on the wrong eye, even though the correct eye had been marked and designated as the eye on which to operate. The surgeon said the mark was covered up when she started to operate and that she did not realize until she was already operating that she was working on the wrong eye. The operation took place at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

A national study determined that an estimated 1,300 to 2,700 suffer from wrong-site medical errors. In Oregon, the number of wrong-site errors has not shown signs of improvement over the past 5 years. Universal safety measures include marking the surgical site, safety checklists, and time-outs to run a final check, but unless these steps are taken seriously and close attention paid, errors are likely to continue.

For more on this story, see this article.