Attorney Referrals Se Habla Español McGowan & Cecil LLC

Free Case Consultation

Local: 301-476-1325 301-476-1325

Toll Free: 877-833-5045 877-833-5045

Menu

Patients are injured daily by surgeon error and medical mistakes

There are thousands of injuries and deaths that occur needlessly each year in hospitals nationwide, including in Maryland. These are due to surprisingly careless mistakes, some made by surgeon error and some by the mistakes of other medical personnel. A concept that attempts to explain the cause of many of these errors is emerging.

That phenomenon is called "cognitive bias." It occurs in the medical malpractice context when a surgeon or other hospital employee does not carefully examine the identity of a medicine or substance because of a kind of "blind" reliance on the expected competence of the nurse or other assistant who handed it over. For example, recently, an elderly woman entered a hospital for a surgical procedure relating to a severe back injury.

The surgeon needed to view the spine prior to performing the surgery. He requested a specific dye, but the nurse received something else from the pharmacy because the requested dye was out of stock. The nurse handed it to the surgeon, telling him it was "what we have." The surgeon looked at it and injected it twice into the patient.

The patient died the next day. The dye was clearly marked as dangerous for use in the spine, but the surgeon's mind did not register the warning. He saw, in a sense, what he wanted to see because he relied basically on the prior competence of the nurse. That may be an innocuous phenomenon in some settings, but it can be deadly in a hospital operating room.

The case is now in litigation for medical malpractice. In Maryland and elsewhere, cognitive bias is behind many instances of avoidable surgeon error and hospital mistakes. Some hospitals have recognized the problem and are implementing written and electronic procedures that have layers of confirmation of the accuracy of the details of a key procedure. These new safeguards are meant to prevent medical personnel from making the medical errors that have caused so many avoidable tragedies in the past.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Surgical error at Tufts Medical Center prompts widespread changes", Liz Kowalczyk, Aug. 31, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
EMAIL US NOW

Contact Our Personal Injury And Work Accident Attorneys to schedule a free consultation

From our office in Laurel, we serve clients throughout the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. We handle all injury and disability claims on a contingency fee basis, so we charge no fee unless we recover compensation for you.

To schedule a free consultation with a Laurel personal injury attorney at our firm, call 301-476-1325 or toll free at 877-833-5045. You may also contact us by email.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy