Three healthy men had their prostate glands removed, five people had surgery on the wrong part of their spine and a child had an unneeded ear operation. These cases come from a database of errors reported to a Colorado insurance company.
Researchers reporting in the Archives of Surgery say these mistakes are not unique to Colorado. They suspect there are many more similar errors that go unreported around the world.
A national standard setting group for hospitals came up with a protocol back in 2004 in hopes of eliminating these mistakes.
The rules include marking areas of the body for surgery before hand and taking a time out right before surgery so doctors can affirm what is about to happen.