Surgical procedures are meant to save or improve patient lives, but when
things go wrong because of human error, the consequences can be serious.
According to research from the National Practitioner Data Bank, doctors
commit “never events,” which are medical mistakes that should
never happen, roughly 4044 times a year.
The term never events was introduced by Dr. Ken Kizer over 15 years ago
in reference to unusually shocking errors in the medical field. In total,
there are 29 individual never events, divided into 7 categories, including
surgical, which is what we’ll be focusing on in this blog.
Below are the 5 surgical never events in Dr. Ken Kizer’s list:
- Surgery or other invasive procedure performed on the wrong body part
- Surgery or other invasive procedure performed on the wrong patient
- Wrong surgical or other invasive procedure performed on a patient
- Object left inside of a patient’s body after surgery
- Death of a healthy patient during or immediately after surgery
Leaving a foreign object in a patient after surgery is the most common
surgical never event, occurring 39 times a week in the United States.
Objects that are typically left include sponges, instruments, needles,
gauze, clamps and towels. Performing the wrong procedure on a patient
and operating on the wrong body site come in second, occurring 20 times
a week a piece.
So why do never events occur? Well, the reasons vary. Distractions, mental fatigue, overworked staff,
stress, lost paperwork, miscommunication and inadequate staffing can all
result in never events. Fortunately, safeguards have been put in place
to prevent such mistakes, such as mandatory “time-outs” in
the operating room and counting items such as sponges and towels before
and after surgery.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a surgical never event,
Orlando medical malpractice lawyers at The Maher Law Firm.
(855) 338-0720 or contact us online