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Surgical Error Statistics in Cook County

When suffering from an injury or illness, we go to the doctor expecting to receive the treatment we need to recover. Depending on your condition, this treatment may involve surgery on either an in- or out-patient basis.

While doctors frequently discuss with their patients the inherent risks associated with performing the procedure, one area they typically do not discuss is the chance for surgical errors.

Surgical error statistics in Cook County cast doubt on the safety of local hospitals in performing these procedures. Injuries due to surgical errors can result in serious and even life-threatening harm to the patient.

At the Chicago law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our experienced medical malpractice lawyers have seen first-hand the harm that can occur as the result of surgical errors, including wrong site procedures and other types of doctor negligence. It is important to be aware of the frequency and types of common surgical errors at area hospitals and to check your doctor or hospital’s background.

The Illinois Hospital Report Card

When providing care to people suffering from diseases, illness or injury, patient safety should always be the top concern for medical and hospital staff. Unfortunately, hospital or doctor negligence has become increasingly common.

According to American Medical News, surgical errors and mistakes occur on average approximately 80 times a week in U.S. hospitals. They result in more than $1 billion annually in medical liability payments.

These types of errors are commonly called “never events” as they are the types of errors that should never be allowed to occur in a hospital or medical setting. They often result from doctor negligence and mistakes on the part of hospital staff.

As a consumer, you have the right to pertinent information about when and where these never events are most likely to occur.

The Illinois Hospital Report Card, prepared by the Illinois Department of Health, allows the public to view and compare various area hospitals in terms of the services and safety they provide to patients.

This information includes the following:

  • An overview of the types of surgery the hospital provides
  • Costs associated with services
  • Ratings on the quality of care patients receive
  • Measures taken by the hospital to avoid errors and ensure patient safety
  • Results of patient satisfaction surveys
  • Information on the staffing and the amount of nursing care each patient is likely to receive, depending on their condition.

By using the information available through the Illinois Hospital Report Card, people facing hospital visits and surgical procedures can take a more active role in choosing their provider.

The Best and Worst Rated Hospitals in Cook County

When compiling surgical error statistics in Cook County, the Illinois Hospital Report Card lists a variety of factors to consider. Providing the right treatment at the right time, ensuring the correct type and dosage of antibiotics are given, monitoring intravenous lines and providing surgical site wound care all go into the overall experience. These factors have the potential to significantly impact your overall chances of recovery.

While the majority of hospitals in Cook County do not provide specific information on the rate at which surgical errors occur, patient surveys are a key indicator of whether a hospital is doing its job in terms of patient safety.

Nationally, the overall average in terms of patient satisfaction is 71 percent. In Cook County, Adventists LaGrange Memorial Hospital ranked above the national average, with 77 percent of patients satisfied with the overall quality of care they received. West Suburban Medical Center ranked the worst, with only 59 percent of patients satisfied with their quality of care.

The following are rankings of the seven leading Cook County hospitals in the Illinois Hospital Report Card, along with the percentages for patient satisfaction at each facility:

Hospital Pct.

Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital 77%

Rush Oak Park Hospital 69%

Loyola University Medical Center 68%

Macneal Hospital 63%

Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital 61%

Westlake Hospital 61%

West Suburban Medical Center 59%

Common Surgical Errors

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, three common types of surgical errors can occur. These errors include:

  • Wrong Site Errors – When the surgeon performs the right procedure but on the wrong site. An example would be a patient requiring a procedure to be performed on the left side of the body, while the doctor mistakenly operates on the right.
  • Wrong Procedure Errors – When the wrong type of procedure is performed such as a doctor mastectomy on a breast cancer patient when a lumpectomy was indicated.
  • Wrong Patient Errors – When charts get confused, perhaps due to the fact that patients have similar names. These errors can be particularly dangerous if the mistake is not uncovered, and a patient fails to get the proper treatment.

All of these “never events” can result from doctor negligence or the negligence of hospital staff in recording and relaying the proper information.

Additionally, American Medical News reports that half of the never events that occur each week in U.S. hospitals involve the leaving of surgical supplies or instruments such as sponges and needles inside the patient.

How Do I Know If My Doctor Committed Surgical Errors In The Past?

It is often difficult to find out if your doctor has committed surgical errors in the past or has been accused of committing medical malpractice. You can check the records at the hospitals your doctor practices at by visiting the Illinois Hospital Report Card, or you can visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and do a physician profile search.

This search will allow you to see when and where your doctor was licensed, previous places where the practiced medicine and any disciplinary actions taken against the doctor. A search may also reveal any past claims, lawsuits or litigation the doctor was involved in relating to medical malpractice.

Allow Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers to Help You

If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of a surgical error, contact our experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorneys today. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we provide aggressive legal representation and can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable for your injuries. We serve clients in Chicago, Waukegan and throughout Illinois. Call or contact us online today for a free, personal review of your case.

Patrick A. Salvi

Patrick A. Salvi concentrates his legal practice in several limited areas primarily involving a trial practice in cases concerning serious personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and mass torts. Mr. Salvi has achieved record-breaking jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including serving as lead counsel in obtaining an Illinois record-high $148 million jury verdict and a Lake County record $33 million jury verdict.

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