Sunday, December 23, 2012

New study on medical errors but no study on gun violence

I am taking a short break from grading final exams to post a few links to a couple of interesting items in the news from last week.

First, there was a new report on a new study quantifying how often surgeons make mistakes that should never happen -- such as leaving an object in a patient, performing the wrong procedure, or performing the procedure on the wrong body part. The Washington Post coverage is here (with charts), and the study press release is here.  AboutLawsuits has a comment here.  The PopTort has a comment here.  Thanks to Public Citizen for the links.

Second, there was the terrible news of the school shooting in Connecticut.  As you know the event has regenerated the debate on gun control and on whether there can be liability for the injuries suffered.  There is a lot of literature on this.  But Torts Today has published a piece on a part of the debate that I did not know about.  The fact that Congress has banned gun injury prevention research.  As explained in the article, originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
Injury prevention research can have real and lasting effects. Over the last 20 years, the number of Americans dying in motor vehicle crashes has decreased by 31%. Deaths from fires and drowning have been reduced even more, by 38% and 52%, respectively. This progress was achieved without banning automobiles, swimming pools, or matches. Instead, it came from translating research findings into effective interventions.
Given the chance, could researchers achieve similar progress with firearm violence?  It will not be possible to find out unless Congress rescinds its moratorium on firearm injury prevention research.
Read the full article here.

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