Informed patients could reduce their surgery risks by screening their physicians for adherence to proper protocols. Surgical errors have long been a problem, but research from the past two decades has found that certain common errors are largely preventable. The Universal Protocol for Wrong-Site Surgery, for instance, addresses the preventable causes in a majority of cases. An understanding of the causes of wrong-site surgery could help patients avoid worsened conditions or fatal surgical errors.
Many professionals think that wrong-site surgery is dramatically under-reported with only an estimated 10 percent of cases being reported to the Joint Commission. Research has provided better estimations of these incidents and an understanding of the primary causes, such as an absent or failed method of verifying the correct surgical site. In other research, the primary causes of these surgical errors were seen as failure to communicate, failure to follow established procedures and poor leadership.