Alan D. Bell Attorney at Law
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A foreign object left behind in surgery not so uncommon

Doctors spend an enormous amount of time earning undergraduate degrees, attending medical school and going through the rigors of residency in order to become as knowledgeable on the subject of health care as possible. It might stand to reason that this dedication would lead to an eventual eradication of serious medical errors, but the evidence demonstrates that this is not true. Whether it is a foreign object left behind or an operation on the wrong body part, recent data reveals that New Jersey residents might not be as safe during surgery as they once thought.

The most recent study put the number of surgeries in which a surgeon inadvertently sewed up a foreign object in a patient at approximately 1 per 10,000 operations. A study performed by the Mayo clinic found this to be a much more common occurrence at 1 out of every 5,500 procedures. Perhaps the most troubling revelation from these two studies is that even the experts still are not sure how many patients are being seriously harmed by something that is actually very preventable. 

So what's with the huge variance between the two studies? Well, wording actually has a lot to do with it. Surgical errors that are identical or extraordinarily similar to one another are often categorized in vastly different ways, making the task of tracking down and tallying up the occurrences of these errors exceptionally difficult.

Without any reliable way to consistently track the occurrence of surgical errors, patients will likely continue to suffer from preventable errors, such as a foreign object left behind. Although many New Jersey victims may simply want to move forward with their lives, recovery can be a difficult road that might prevent them from moving on. In most instances, a successfully navigated medical malpractice claim can provide the necessary legal recourse to address a victim's related medical bills, emotional trauma and long-term pain and suffering.

Source: Good Housekeeping, "Major Surgery Mistakes Still Happen at Hospitals", Asher Fogle, June 12, 2015

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Alan D. Bell
650 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite 105
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Phone: 973-233-4291
Phone: 973-743-7070

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