Study: Wrong-site surgeries, close calls common

Wrong-site surgeries happen or almost happen every other day in Pennsylvania healthcare organizations, says a new study. And, researchers suggest, those findings mirror what's taking place in other states.

Officials of the Pennsylvania Safety Authority, which conducted the survey, said in a 30-month time period stretching from June 2004 to December 2006, they received 427 near misses or reports of wrong-site surgeries. Of those, 253 were near misses. Of the remaining surgeries, which actually involved harm to a patient, 69 percent were wrong-side surgeries, 14 percent were wrong body part surgeries, 9 percent were wrong procedures and 8 percent were wrong patient cases.

Common risk factors included multiple procedures and/or surgeons, time pressure, incomplete pre-op assessments and problems with teamwork. When errors were prevented, meanwhile, it often was the patient's family, not the hospital staff, who sounded the alarm.

To gather more information from the study:
- read this Philadelphia Business Journal article

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