Suffering through the pain and recovery associated with necessary surgery can be difficult and painful. But suffering through a follow-up surgery because a negligent healthcare provider failed to remove all surgical equipment from your body can be downright maddening. These particular leave-in kinds of surgical errors occur more often than you might think. In fact, approximately 2,000 leave-in surgical errors occur in American hospitals annually. Often, patients are left with surgical sponges inadvertently implanted inside their bodies. However, surgeons also accidentally leave gauze, needles and other surgical instruments inside patients with startling frequency. Though significant efforts have been made to reduce surgical errors in the past five years, these efforts are falling short of achieving a reasonable rate of human error. Of course, human error is present in the medical profession, as it is in every profession. But the rates of surgical errors that occur each year in American hospitals are truly unacceptable. Experts indicate that this issue may not be best addressed by identifying particularly negligent providers, but rather by addressing widespread facility procedures. When providers are not required to use checklists and other preventative safety measures, mistakes are more likely and occur more frequently. When they are not required to report their mistakes or learn from them through professional feedback, these mistakes will be made again. If American healthcare facilities are going to lower rates of surgical errors, the processes and procedures that do not directly and explicitly increase safety need to be reexamined. In the meantime, patients are advised to speak with their surgeons about safety practices before going under the knife. If you find yourself the victim of a car accident, don’t be afraid to contact a medical malpractice lawyer.