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Many specialists admit to making errors

Posted - Aug. 3, 2004 at 9:20 p.m.



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BOSTON, Aug 03, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A U.S. survey found 45 percent of ear, nose and throat doctors reported making a medical error over the past six months, with 37 percent causing major injury.

Otolaryngologists -- who specialize in head and neck surgeries -- from the American Academy of Otolaryngology sent out surveys to fellow colleagues and received 466 responses, finding 210 reported medical errors, with 4 percent of the errors proving fatal.

Technical errors during procedure accounted for 19 percent of the mistakes, with medication errors comprising 14 percent, testing errors 10 percent and surgical planning errors another 10 percent.

Younger physicians were more likely to make errors than those over age 50, with other errors including equipment malfunctions, wrong-site surgery, drug errors during surgery, and miscommunications.

The researchers suspect this 45 percent figure is low, because many doctors may not even be trained to recognize errors or are reluctant to admit they have made mistakes.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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