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Trauma surgeon writes about common surgical errors.

Dr. Lisa Marcucci, a trauma surgeon formerly associated with Geisinger Medical Center, has written a book entitled "Avoiding Common Surgical Errors." In it, she identified 186 medical mistakes, some of which could involve serious consequences to patients. Dr. Marcucci's stated goal-to help prevent such errors in the future.

In an interview with the Times Leader, a Wilkes Barre online newspaper, Dr. Marcucci stated that she was motivated to write on this subject because of numerous surgical errors that she has both seen and heard about. She related that, as a second-year resident, she attended a conference about medical errors and learned of two mistakes made by other second-year residents. One patient died after the resident removed a chest catheter while the patient was sitting upright. Another patient lost a hand after a resident attempted to draw blood from two large arteries in the same arm at the same time. Despite attending a top medical school and having completed a year of residency, Dr. Marcucci had never been taught that the actions of the two residents constituted mistakes. 

Dr. Marcucci noted that doctors often confer to review errors and how to avoid them. She noted, however, that the results of such conferences fail to reach a broad enough audience, particularly medical residents (including approximately 2,300 new surgical trainees annually), interns, and young attending doctors. This latter group, as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, are the primary target audience of Dr. Marcucci's book. Twenty-six other physicians contributed to the book.

In the future, Dr. Marcucci plans to write a series of book on medical errors in a number of different areas of medicine. She is also developing a web site for patients planning to undergo surgery and their families. Dr. Marcucci finally noted that even though doctors in this country practice the best and safest medicine in the world, room for improvement exists and she hopes her efforts will lead to such improvement.

Source: The Time Leader

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