What Are Common Surgical "Never Events"?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 12-Oct-2017

“Never events” are a nickname given to the most egregious and preventable medical mistakes. Although there are many ways patients may be harmed while receiving medical services, “never events” refer to specific types of mistakes. The National Quality Forum (NQF) maintains a list of medical mistakes that may be considered “never events.”

Twenty-nine of the mistakes mentioned on the list vary depending on the type of medical procedure or situation. For the purposes of this blog, we are going to discuss common never events that may occur during surgery. Johns Hopkins University maintains that more than 4,000 surgical never events occur in the US each year.

  • Wrong-site surgeries. These are surgical mistakes where a surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body. For example, a wrong-site surgery could include removing the wrong breast during a mastectomy.
  • Wrong-patient surgeries. Surgeons may operate on the wrong patient. For example, if two patients have similar or identical names and one undergoes an unnecessary surgical procedure. Of course, there are other reasons why wrong-patient surgeries can occur.
  • Wrong- procedure errors. Wrong-procedure errors are where surgeons perform the wrong types of surgical procedures on patients.
  • Retained surgical items. Surgeons may leave scissors or surgical sponges inside of patients. As a result, patients can suffer organ perforation or infections.

Are “Never Events” Medical Malpractice?

“Never events” should not happen, hence the nickname. If a patient is harmed by a “never event”, then it is a good indicator that they did not receive the standard of care. Patients or their family members should contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss their legal rights and whether they have options to pursue damages.

The Washington DC medical malpractice attorneys at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC have secured multimillion dollar settlements and verdicts for victims of medical negligence.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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