Operations on the wrong side of a patient's body can occur more than expected because surgeons do not give in to their mistakes.
- Doctors have been looking for errors on the wrong side at 100 Spanish hospitals for more than a decade
- They discovered that 81 were included during the timeframe – 2007 and 2018
- However, experts warned that this figure would probably only be the tip of the iceberg
Going to the hospital and having an operation performed on your wrong limb may sound like something out of a comic film.
But the error may be more common than you think, according to researchers who claimed that surgeons do not always admit that they had made mistakes.
Doctors have recorded in the past ten years how many incorrect incidental incidents were reported in 100 Spanish hospitals.
They discovered that 81 were officially registered during the time frame – but warned that this figure would probably only be the tip of the iceberg.
Going to the hospital and having an operation performed on your wrong limb may sound like something out of a comic film. But the error may be more common than you think, according to researchers who claimed that surgeons do not always admit that they had made mistakes
Studies have assumed one incorrect operation per 100,000 procedures – but the academics stated that the percentage is closer to one in 16,000.
Dr. Daniel Arnal, from the Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain, led the investigation of incidents between 2007 and 2018.
He said: & # 39; The grim reality is due to the lack of reporting to incidental databases, these figures most likely represent an underestimation of the actual situation.
& # 39; Reporting errors on the wrong side has, however, led to substantial corrective measures to prevent recurrence in our hospitals. & # 39;
Almost half of the incidents (48 percent) occurred in orthopedic surgery, surgery on bones, joints, ligaments and muscles.
Eye surgery – eye surgery – was responsible for 28 percent of all registered wrong site errors.
WHAT IS A NEVER EVENT?
Never events represent a fraction of the 4.6 million surgical procedures performed every year and only occur in one in 20,000 cases of surgery.
They include operating on the wrong parts of the body, mixing organs, and leaving surgical tools on patients.
Such an incident even led to deaths, including that of Frank Hibbard, who had undergone cancer treatment at Luton and Dunstable Hospital in October 2001.
Dangling doctors left an 8 cm long piece of gauze in his pelvis, causing a soft tissue cancer and leading to the death of the truck driver at the age of only 69.
In 2015, Britain was named one of the worst offenders for leaving items within patients by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Most of the errors (45) involved anesthesia on the wrong side of the body. Serious damage was caused on three occasions.
The remaining 36 revolved around the surgical procedure itself, according to the study presented at the Euroanaesthesia congress in Vienna.
An analysis of how the errors occurred revealed that patients were responsible for approximately 20 percent and an incorrect location determination responsible for 16 percent.
Surgeons were distracted in eight percent of the cases and about 17 percent of the errors were caused by rush.
The others were caused by doctors who did not have a surgical safety checklist or did not use it correctly.
Dr. Arnal added: & # 39; Our findings emphasize the need for adequate training and use of surgical checklists.
& # 39; Although these serious events on the wrong side are extremely rare, it is our mission to reduce them to zero. & # 39;
A never-event is defined as catastrophic hospital blunders that are considered so serious that they should never take place, such as operations on the wrong parts of the body.
To prevent such a blunder, health officials argue for the use of standardized wrist bands for patients and the Surgical Safety Checklist of the World Health Organization.
The WHO measure, introduced ten years ago, was launched as a tool to improve the safety of operations and prevent unnecessary deaths.
It helps physicians ensure that they do not work on the wrong patient, perform the wrong procedure, or work on the wrong part of their body.
The data comes from incidents reported to SENSAR, the Spanish safety reporting system for anesthesia and resuscitation.
The database comprises 100 predominantly large hospitals throughout Spain, including seventy from the Canary Islands, Madrid and Barcelona.
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