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Atlanta residents visit their doctors when they are sick because they trust their doctors to make the right decisions and perform the best care possible. However, many people may want to rethink any upcoming surgeries. According to a new study, over 4,000 surgical errors occur every year, resulting in more than $1 billion in medical malpractice payouts.

The sad part is that all of these errors were preventable. They are called “never events” because they are things that should never happen. Things such as leaving a sponge inside a patient’s body or operating on the wrong part sound like things out of a horror movie, but unfortunately they happen all too frequently.

In fact, statistics show that every week, on average, a doctor leaves a foreign object inside a patient’s body almost 40 times. The wrong body part is operated on 20 times and the wrong procedure is performed 20 times.

These surgical errors are no laughing matter. In nearly seven percent of cases, the result is death. Temporary injury results in nearly 60 percent of the surgical errors, while more than 30 percent lead to permanent injury.

Hospitals and other medical clinics are advised to create safety procedure for surgeries and other procedures and ensured they are followed by doctors, nurses and other medical staff every time. More attention to detail is needed in some cases, such as going through a checklist to ensure that the correct body part is being operated on. In addition, patients should feel free to speak up if they have safety concerns.

Patients who believe they are victims of medical malpractice should contact the doctor first before calling an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer. Most doctors do not want to be sued for medical malpractice, so they will often do what they can to remedy the situation – sometimes even free of charge – in order to avoid a costly lawsuit.

Source: WTEV, “Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year,” Jennifer Warner, Dec. 26, 2012