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How Emerging Technology Can Help Prevent Surgical Errors

Chicago medical malpractice attorneyUndergoing surgery can be an overwhelming experience for many patients. The fear that something could go wrong and cause a serious condition to worsen is legitimate. In fact, it's backed up by staggering data.

Research from 2013 estimates that surgical errors involving the wrong site or wrong person happen as much as 50 times per week across the United States. Additional research (updated in January 2019) shows that wrong-side errors make up 59 percent of all wrong-site errors observed by orthopedic surgeons within the last six months.

We'd like to think that doctors possess enough skill, knowledge, and experience to perform surgical procedures without error but that is not always the case. While some doctors may have the expertise to perform a procedure correctly, poor communication and inaccurate information can still lead to an error.

Solutions that protect patients

In order to mitigate the risk of surgical errors, Chicago general surgeon Richard Vazquez established a software startup called SafeStart Medical. It not only initiates safety on the administrative side, it also includes patient engagement. It works by:

  • Creating an enhanced patient safety record with annotated surgery images
  • Creating important clinical documents
  • Including allergies and consent forms that require review and approval of records and scheduled surgeries from both the patient and doctor

The purpose of SafeStart is to eliminate what are called "never events," which include performance surgery on the wrong site or side of the body and transplanting the wrong organ. These errors impact about 8,000-10,000 patients each year. Roughly 50 percent of them are attributed to communication and hand-off errors during surgery.

Technology isn't always fool-proof

At the Deratany Firm, we applaud any efforts to protect patients from surgical errors. While technology can help reduce the risk of an error, it isn't always foolproof. A small misunderstanding or glitch during the process can potentially harm patients. That's why, in conjunction with medical safety technology, doctors must leave no stone unturned when it comes to the fine details. Ensuring that patients receive the best possible treatment leaves no room for error.

If you or a loved one sustained an injury, illness, or debilitating condition due to a surgical error, you may be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and/or hospital where your procedure was performed. It's important to note that this technology can be beneficial to your claim by providing in-depth documentation of the surgical process which can be used as evidence.

One of our experienced Chicago attorneys will gladly review your situation, identify where negligence occurred, and explore the legal options available to you. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

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