ADMIRALTY / MARITIME LAW

Human errors and surgical adverse events

| Aug 30, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |

Many Louisiana residents must undergo surgeries every day. Regardless of age or prior health condition, these events are often necessary to save a life, treat a serious disease or improve a person’s condition. Some surgeries are even elective but can still be essential ways of improving a person’s everyday lives and happiness. Sadly, every one of these surgeries comes with some level of risk to patients.

Surgical errors have long posed a problem and resulted in countless patient deaths or other complications. Many people find that it is helpful for them to understand what might cause or contribute to these types of mistakes. Several studies have focused on this exact topic and the results of one have recently been published in the JAMA Open Network. Becker’s Hospital Review indicates that it highlighted a serious finding.

At least 56% of all of the mistakes that resulted in adverse events were attributed to some form of human error. The study took place over a half of year at three different medical centers. There were 188 identified adverse events, 106 of which involved errors by surgical team members.  The human error factors were ranked from low to high based on involvement in the total adverse events.

In the low category were factors like communication and hospital systems, both areas that have been the subject of much training as of late. This may indicate the benefit of training. On the high end were factors like low levels of attention or other cognitive problems, including cognitive bias among staff.