Efforts aimed at reducing the number of surgical errors may need to focus more on prevention of equipment malfunctioning. According to new research, as many as one in four surgical errors can be linked to technology or equipment malfunction or failures.
The study, which was published recently in the Journal BMJ Quality and Safety, found out of the 15 errors that occur on an average in surgery, approximately a quarter or 24% are linked to technology failures. The data indicates such technology failures are a very substantial factor driving the number of surgical errors in the year. In fact, high-risk procedures like cardiac surgeries were found to have much higher rates of surgical errors, because these surgeries very often used highly sophisticated technology and equipment.
According to the researchers, it is definitely possible to reduce the risk of equipment-related surgical errors by integrating an equipment safety checklist into the existing surgical field checklist already being used by hospitals. This surgical device or equipment related checklist must include a complete check of whether all devices are functioning and whether they have been properly configured before the operation begins.
Apart from doing a complete equipment safety checklist before the operation, the number of such errors can be reduced by using briefing tools and having additional staff training programs to ensure staff members the right devices are not just available before the surgery, but also that they are properly configured and functioning before the procedure. These steps could actually help reduce the number of such technology failures by as much as 50%.
If you feel you or your family member have been harmed as a result of negligence or medical malpractice, please contact Michels & Lew attorneys today at 310-444-1200.