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Oregon patients may be able to track surgical errors

Oregon residents might agree that it would be helpful to know how many mistakes their potential surgeons had made during prior procedures. A new website may be able to provide that information. After checkbook.org won the right to access records kept by Medicare, it put together the website in order to track surgical errors.

Statistics show that medical errors rank number three in causes of American deaths each year. No fewer than 200,000 people die each year because of mistakes made by the people who are supposed to be treating and curing them. Research indicates that a large percentage of those deaths are attributed to surgical mistakes.

The new website created to track surgeons includes data on deaths, patients who experienced surgical complications, and patients who had to be readmitted to the hospital. In some cases, surgeons have documented medical errors that are three times more than errors associated with a peer surgeon. Researchers tracked the records of 14 procedures that are performed most often in the United States, including gallbladder removals, hip replacements, heart bypass surgeries and others.

Even if Oregon residents are able to make a better informed decision regarding their surgeons, there is still no guarantee that surgical errors would not occur. If a patient is injured, or a family loses a loved one, at the hands of a surgeon, the filing of a medical malpractice claim may be appropriate. Establishing that negligence occurred could result in damages being awarded to the victims, which may help them with any current or future financial losses sustained as a result of the mistake or mistakes made during surgery.

Source: abc57.com, "New website lets patients search for surgeons with best outcomes", Jay Crandall, Aug. 5, 2015

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