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Penrose Hospital Says Surgical Mistakes Study Points Out Why Focus is on Patient Safety

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

U.S. hospitals enacted rules in 2004 to end surgical mistakes. But a new study says doctors are still reporting operations performed on the wrong body parts and even the wrong people.

The study published in the Archives of Surgery looked at a database of errors that doctors reported to the Colorado Physician Insurance Co. between Jan. 1, 2002, and June 1, 2008.

Of the 27,370 incidents in the database, the study found 25 surgeries were performed on the wrong patient and 107 operations were on the wrong body part.

The study says some errors resulted when laboratory samples were mixed up.

The Chief Medical Officer at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Jeff Oram-Smith, says they have several procedures in place, to keep mistakes like that from happening. "We are paying much more attention to it now than previously and it is becuase of national statistics, actually world wide statistics, of some of the errors that have occurred. Our entire industry has become more safety concious," said Oram Smith.

At Penrose, some examples of the safety precautions in place include requiring patients to show two forms of identification before any procedure. Surgeons are also required to put their initials where the incision will be. And once in surgery, the operating procedure is read out loud, and a double check of the patient is made.

Oram-smith says that all hospitals are now required to report any incident that happens, so while statistics may look like they are increasing, it may just be because they are now reported regularly.


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