In Surgery, Failing ‘No Sponge Left Behind’

Here’s a scary statistic: A surgeon in the U.S. leaves a foreign object, such as a sponge or towel, inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times a week. Even scarier, surgeons perform the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week and operate on the wrong body site 20 times a week, according to an analysis of national malpractice claims by patient-safety researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Researchers also found that patients 60 or older …

Dr. Joseph E. Murray: 3 Patients a Nobel Laureate Treated

When we celebrate medical pioneers, we usually focus on the revolutionary breakthroughs that they achieve. It’s easy to forget that they’re not just innovative researchers but physicians as well, and that their calling isn’t just to win Nobel Prizes but also to help the flesh-and-blood human beings on their operating tables. Dr. Joseph E. Murray, a surgeon who performed the first successful organ transplant in 1954 and shared the 1990 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Dr. E. Donnall Thomas for discoveries …