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One hospital attempts to reduce surgical errors

Far too many patients around the country, including many here in Illinois, have been victims of mistakes made while under the care of medical professionals in the operating room. Surgical errors are a pervasive problem at hospitals throughout the country. One hospital on the West Coast is taking steps to make surgical procedures as safe as possible for patients.

Each day, the staff -- which includes technicians, nurses and doctors, among others -- begins the day reviewing each surgery that will be performed that day. If any patients have issues such as an allergy to latex or a viral infection, everyone is made aware of that fact to ensure that special care is taken with them. They also review what procedures are being done, what body parts are being operated on and any other concerns the teams might have.

Before any procedure begins, the surgical team reviews all of the patient's information one more time. Names, ages and allergies are discussed. Furthermore, everyone at the hospital is made aware once again of the details regarding the procedure that is to be performed. This helps to eliminate as many human mistakes during the operation as possible. These procedures have been in place for some time, but they were enhanced after an incident in 2012 in which the wrong kidney was removed from a patient, which meant that both kidneys had to be removed and the patient spent the rest of his life on dialysis.

This hospital's efforts are to be applauded, but that does not mean that every human error can be eliminated. Patients undergoing surgical procedures at hospitals here in Illinois and around the country are still being permanently harmed or even killed due to surgical errors. When that happens, it would be beneficial for the victim and/or his or her family to seek the counsel of an attorney to determine whether a medical malpractice claim is appropriate. The more often medical professionals are held responsible for their mistakes, the better chance that it will not be repeated.

Source: sandiegouniontribune.com, "Sharpening the focus on medical errors", Paul Sisson, June 30, 2016

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