The Florida Board of Medicine recently issued final orders in two recent cases that remind us how medical errors are still a major issue. According to a study by Johns Hopkins, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of more than 250,000 people every year.
Additional reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the number of premature deaths associated with medical errors at more than 400,000. Over a span of five years, the CDC notes the following statistics:
- 2,413 operations on the incorrect body part
- 4,857 surgical instruments left inside a patient
- 27 operations performed on the wrong patient
Experts also estimate that almost 1.7 million people every year acquire harmful infections while staying at the hospital. The CDC notes that 70% of those reported infections may have been avoided by proper handwashing or similar precautions.
Florida Medical Mistake Cases
The Florida Board of Medicine fined Dr. Raul Fernandez-Crespo for a 2019 procedure where he incorrectly operated on a man’s testicle. The Tampa urologist marked and performed surgery on a patient’s right testicle to remove enlarged veins, but the procedure was meant to be performed on the left testicle. The State of Florida Board of Medicine fined Dr. Fernandez-Crespo $2,500 and issued a letter of concern.
In another recent decision, the Florida Board of Medicine fined and took punitive action against a Pembroke Pines doctor for performing diagnostic procedures on the incorrect leg of a patient. The Florida Department of Health reported that Dr. David Feldbaum did diagnostic work on a patient’s right leg when he should have been working on the left leg. The Florida Board of Medicine settled with the doctor in June, where they issued him $7,000 in fines and other punitive actions.
Neither doctor in these cases had prior board discipline history. In addition to the issued fines, each doctor must either take a continuing medical education course in risk management or sit through eight hours of Board of Medicine disciplinary hearings. They must also give a one-hour lecture on wrong-site surgeries at a medical facility approved by the board.
Medical Mistakes and Malpractice
Before undergoing medical procedures, experts advise patients to take certain precautions including asking necessary questions about the planned procedure, finding a patient advocate to assist with care, and doing their research to stay informed. A patient’s well-being remains the top responsibility of their doctor and treating medical professionals.
Medical errors cause harm to families too often. If you believe a medical professional made a mistake that injured you or someone you love, our team of attorneys can work with you to hold them accountable for their errors. Please give us a call at (305) 662-6178 to schedule a free consultation.
Johns Hopkins. (2016, May 3). Study Suggests Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. Retrieved from: https://hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us
Journal of Patient Safety. (2013 September). A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. Retrieved from: https://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Fulltext/2013/09000/A_New,_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.aspx
D. Neal. (2021, June 23). A Tampa doctor did surgery on the wrong testicle, state says. He tried to fix the issue. Retrieved from: https://miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article252274043.html
D. Neal. (2021, June 22). A Broward doctor did a procedure on the wrong leg, the state says. He got fined. Retrieved from: https://miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article252300053.html