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Medical malpractice cases still common in the U.S.

Our New Haven readers may be interested to learn that a recent study in the U.S. has revealed medical errors still happen with more frequency than they should. The study on medical malpractice was conducted by a research team of doctors from the Johns Hopkins Medical Center and published in a medical journal.

According to the study, carelessness and negligence of doctors can result in dangerous consequences for patients. The study found that doctors often leave surgical instruments inside a patient's body after surgery.

The study, which was based on a review of prior medical malpractice records, also brought to light various instances wherein doctors negligently operated on the wrong body part or sometimes even operated on the wrong patient.

As per the findings of the study, leaving surgical instruments like cotton gauze, towels, sponges and other equipment inside the patient was the most frequent error committed by doctors, occurring approximately 39 times in a week. The carelessness of operating on the wrong patient or the wrong body part occurred 20 times in a week.

According to the co-author of the research, the findings indicate the rate of actual occurrence of medical professional negligence is supposedly much higher. The chances of these mistakes increase when a patient is overweight or if different teams of doctors are operating on the same patient. The study also attributes medical negligence to the busy schedule of doctors or to the hospital culture where nurses don't speak up if they find an irregularity.

The major reason behind these medical negligence cases, according to the research findings, is the lack of proper protocols in hospitals to avoid these accidental errors. The research revealed that, from 1990 to 2010, approximately 80,000 surgical errors occurred. Many of these errors likely led to major medical malpractice cases being filed. The statistics show that these errors resulted in the death of about seven percent of the patients while causing permanent injury to 33 percent of the victims.

Anyone who has been a victim of medical malpractice or negligence may choose to file a personal injury claim against the erring doctor and the hospital staff. An experienced attorney may help the victim in calculating the claim amount and dealing with other complexities of the claim.

Source: Press TV, "US doctors make careless, dangerous errors," Dec. 22, 2012

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