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Study finds errors in almost half of all surgeries

Researchers recently conducted a new study about how often medication errors happen during surgery. The results were alarming. According to the study, mistakes occurred in almost half of all the surgeries. 

The study, which was led by Massachusetts General Hospital, was intended to analyze the risk of medication errors during surgery. Researchers looked at 277 separate surgical procedures. Out of those 277 surgeries, 124 of them involved a medication error or an adverse drug event. In other words, mistakes were made in nearly one out of every two procedures. 

The types of mistakes varied. They included errors in labeling drugs, incorrect drug dosages, failing to properly treat and address changes in the patient’s vital signs during the surgery, and/or mistakes when documenting drugs.

Patients typically receive multiple drugs during surgery. Out of the 3,675 drug administrations, the study recorded 193 medication errors and/or adverse drug effects. Further, the study found that 80% of these errors could have been prevented.


Alarmingly, the study also found that two-thirds of these errors were considered “serious.” Two percent of the errors were considered to be life-threatening, though no patient died as a result.

The disturbing results of this study highlight the reality that surgical errors happen, even when they could have been prevented. If you are the victim of a surgical mistake, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. The state of Louisiana has laws that protect patients who are injured due to the negligence of a medical provider. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you decide how to proceed.

Source:, “Medication errors common during surgery, study finds,” Alan Mozes, Oct. 26, 2015 

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