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Study Suggests More Than 50 Million Patients Suffer Surgical Complications Per Year

Surgical ComplicationsAround the world, more than 300 million patients receive surgery each year. A new study suggests that more than 50 million of them will suffer from some sort of surgical complication. This remains true, despite the initiatives focused on reducing infection and other postoperative complications. It also remains true, despite the increased awareness of medical errors that cause patient death. The following information explains this concerning issue, and explains what you should do if you or someone you love experiences a surgical complication caused by medical negligence.

Understanding the Risk

The study, which pulled data from 474 hospitals around the world (included 27 high, middle, and low income countries), found that one in six patients suffer some sort of complication after surgery. One in 35 of them died without ever leaving the hospital. The most frequent complications were those associated with infection.

According to the researchers, about nine percent of all surgical patients suffered from an infection, in general, but the most common was superficial site infection. Generally caused by bacteria on the skin near the surgical wound, this accounted for approximately 2.9 percent of all infections. As many as 1.3 percent of those patients suffered a fatality (about 117,000 patients each year). Cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack and arrhythmia, were also common.

Surgical procedures for which complications were most common were gastrointestinal surgeries (carried the greatest risk, overall), such as those pertaining to the stomach, bowel, and esophagus. Mortality risks were highest for those that had gone in for a cardiac procedure. Orthopedics and breast procedures carried the least amount of risk, including all risks associated with infection.

It should be noted that complications were most common for those receiving surgery in low to middle income countries. However, mortality rates among those that experienced complication after surgery was somewhat similar across all countries, including those with a higher overall income. This result, in particular, suggests that there may be a critical breakdown in the system when it comes to determining which patients should be sent to critical care, and which may be at the highest level of mortality after a complication.

When You or Someone You Love Suffers Injury, Illness, or Mortality

Clearly, the emphasis should be on preventing such tragedies after surgery. Yet, despite the alleged best efforts of health advocates, agencies, and even the hospitals and doctors themselves, little seems to be changing. As such, patients and their families should understand that they do have the right to pursue compensation. More than that, they should fight for justice by seeking an advocate who is willing to seek a full and fair settlement for any losses they may have experienced.

At Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP, we are sensitive to the difficulties that you and your loved ones have faced. We stand as strong and aggressive allies, seeking the most favorable outcome possible for your situation. At every turn, we defend your rights and protect your best interests. Schedule your consultation with our San Jose medical malpractice lawyers to learn more about how we can help with your case. Call (408) 289-1417 today.

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