U.S surgeons leave a foreign object in a patient at least 39 times a week.
They perform the wrong procedure on a patient at least 20 times a week.
And they operate on the wrong body part at least 20 times a week.
That is what Johns Hopkins researchers found when they analyzed malpractice claims between 1990 and 2010.
The researchers conservatively estimate that 80,000 such preventable, surgical mistakes - which the medical profession defines as those that should never occur - happened in that 20-year time period.
The study, led by Dr. Marty Markary, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, examined cases from the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal repository of medical malpractice claims. They looked at 9,744 paid judgements and claims totaling $1.3 billion over 20 years. They found that more than 4,044 preventable events that should never happen take place each year in the United States.