Houston, TX (PRWEB) January 12, 2013
Houston medical malpractice lawyer Kevin Krist today called for increased efforts to reduce surgical errors in the wake of a first-of-its-kind study from Johns Hopkins that calculated at least 4,000 avoidable mistakes happen during surgeries each year in American health care facilities.
“When doctors fall so far below the standard of care that they actually operate on the wrong person, perform the wrong procedure or leave surgical items inside of a patient, it is simply inexcusable,” Krist said. He is the founder of The Law Office of Kevin Krist, a Southeast Texas personal injury firm that represents victims of medical malpractice and other catastrophic injuries.
Krist was referring to the so-called “never events” that were the subject of a Johns Hopkins study that was published last month in the online journal Surgery. Never events are medical mistakes that should never happen, such as leaving objects inside patients or operating on the wrong body part.
Even though they are called “never events,” these mistakes occur on average more than 10 times a day in operating rooms across the country, the study reports. It looked at data for four categories of surgical errors: retained foreign body (objects left inside a patient); wrong-site surgeries (operating on the wrong body part); wrong procedure (performing the wrong surgery); and wrong patient (operating on the wrong person).
The researchers gathered data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a federal database of medical malpractice claims and settlements. They estimated that an average of 4,044 never events happen each year, according to a press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine. The averages were determined based on information regarding 9,744 paid malpractice claims and judgments during a 20-year period.
“It is beyond comprehension that trained physicians could be this careless in doing their jobs,” Krist said. “Patients place their trust in medical care providers, and doctors have a responsibility to live up to that trust.”
He said he believes that the new Johns Hopkins study is an important wakeup call that the medical profession must take steps to prevent serious surgical errors.
The Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that the use of electronic bar codes on surgical devices could be a step in the right direction, as well as public reporting of never events and better reporting of safety efforts.
“Hospitals and surgical centers are currently expected to reveal information on never events, but there is little oversight to ensure they do, and there is little public accountability,” Krist said. “If hospitals had to make these incidents publicly available, then this would put pressure on them to improve their safety standards.”
Medical malpractice lawsuits are another way to put pressure on health care providers to improve their safety record, according to Krist. He urged victims of never events and other surgical errors to seek legal counsel from a qualified Texas medical malpractice attorney.
About The Law Office of Kevin Krist
The Law Office of Kevin Krist is a Houston personal injury law firm dedicated to protecting Southeast Texas residents who have suffered catastrophic injuries in serious and tragic accidents. For more than 25 years, the firm has represented clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims involving auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, business litigation, catastrophic injury, defective products, explosion or burn injuries, maritime injuries, medical malpractice, spinal injury, traumatic brain injury and workplace accidents. The firm serves accident and injury victims throughout Houston, Harris County, Pasadena, Katy, Baytown, League City and surrounding areas. The firm’s office is located 3401 Allen Parkway, Suite 102, Houston, TX 77019. To learn more about The Law Office of Kevin Krist, call (281) 677-3959 or use the firm’s online contact form.