San Francisco Medical Malpractice Lawyer News: Hospital mishaps on the rise?

San Francisco Medical Malpractice Lawyer News: Hospital mishaps on the rise?


06/21/2010 // San Francisco, CA, USA // Mary Alexander // San Francisco medical malpractice attorney – Mary Alexander

San Francisco, CA—(San Francisco medical malpractice attorney News )While miscellaneous items, which include, but are not limited to, drill bits, screws, and surgical sponges, should be among the last items left in a patient after operation, such adverse events occur more often than many may assume. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), there were 197 cases of “retained foreign objects” during the latest fiscal year, accounting for part of the 350 total cases within the last two years. Twenty-nine of those particular cases were even deemed serious enough to issue subsequent penalties. Such medical mishaps were regarded as “never” events, for they are never supposed to occur during surgical procedures, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

In one specific avoidable medical error, San Francisco General Hospital was fined $25,000 after a surgical sponge was left in a patient after a 2008 operation. The sponge, which was alleged to be one of the most common objects left in patients, was only found approximately three months after the extensive procedure. In that case, a woman with two types of cancer underwent eight hours of surgery (within two days). Surgeons reportedly “removed the patient’s uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, to resection her bowel and colon and to reduce the size of the tumor”.

After the operation was completed, the surgical team counted all pieces of equipment used during the procedure. However, one object was mistakenly forgotten: a 4-by-8 surgical sponge. That sponge, which was used to absorb excess blood, was left inside the patient and only removed months after the incident. With regard to the episode, Dr. Todd May, chief of the medical staff for San Francisco General, stated, “This was a very unfortunate incident and, whether or not there was a fine involved, we would have addressed this very seriously.”

Between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009, there were a total of 2,446 preventable medical errors reported throughout the state of California. Fourteen percent of those incidents accounted for cases involving “retained foreign objects” during those years. Since 2007, the CDPH has reportedly issued 156 administrative penalties for a total of 108 California medical centers. In all, $4.8 million in penalties have been issued, with $2.9 already collected. Each proposed penalty carried a $50,000 fine for the first offence, $75,000 for the second, and $100,000 for the third or any following violations within the same hospital. The collected fines will be used to fund research on how to prevent such medical blunders. Nonetheless, Dr. Niraj Sehgal, UCSF associate professor in hospital medicine and associate chairman of quality and safety in the department of medicine, noted, “There’s an element there that still relies on a human to be perfect… and humans are not perfect.”

Leading medical malpractice attorney Mary Alexander, states if you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to substandard medical care, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. With over 25 years of experience litigating the multifaceted medical malpractice claims of victims and their families, contacting the adept trial firm of Mary Alexander & Associates may help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Bay Area San Francisco medical malpractice attorney

Mary Alexander

44 Montgomery Street, Suite 1303

San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: (866) 802-9497


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Address: 44 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA
Phone: (866) 802-9497

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