You would never expect a surgeon to live a sponge, towel, or gauze inside of a patient. You would never think that a surgeon could perform the wrong procedure. You would never imagine in a thousand years that a surgeon would operate on the wrong body part. And you certainly would never accept any excuse a surgeon who committed such an egregious mistake.
Aptly named "never events" are something that should never happen in the operating room, and that the medical community can never forgive if it does. And yet, these accidents happen day in and day out. What is causing these "never events" and what is being done to prevent them in the future?
Study of "Never Events"
At the end of 2012, John Hopkins Medicine completed a rigorous study of the frequency, causes, and consequences of "never events.”
According to their conservative estimates, each week:
- 39 foreign objects are left inside a patient's body
- 20 incorrect procedures are performed
- 20 operations are performed on the wrong body part
Those numbers add up to more than 4,000 "never events" occurring each year in the United States, and the number could be even higher. If the mistake is never reported, never identified, or not severe enough to require additional treatments, it was probably invisible to the study.
Out of the 20 years of research and data the study collected and examined – that is roughly 80,000 "never events" – only a mere 9,744 ended in paid medical malpractice claims for a total of $1.3 billion in damages. This statistic is alarming when compared to the percentage of people harmed or killed by the "never events": 6.6% passed away due to complications, 32.9% were permanently injured, and another 59.2% were injured temporarily.
The causes of "never events" are blurred in the statistics. They are clearly happening but exacting what is causing them is difficult, as the most common reason seems to be commonplace negligence. Hospitals have procedures already in place to do everything possible to stop a "never event" from occurring, like marking the surgery site with ink or counting all tools before and after the operation, but all the protocols in the world can do nothing to stop a doctor that is not focusing on the task at hand.
If you’ve been injured by your medical professional, it’s up to you to file a medical malpractice claim, but you don’t have to do it alone. The Law Offices of David C. Rash can front your claim, analyze your case, and bring a powerful argument to the courtroom on your behalf.
Other Types of “Never Events”
Coined in 2001 specifically in reference to shocking medical errors that should never occur, the term “never event” has since expanded to include any preventable event that results in serious injuries or fatalities in the healthcare industry.
Along with surgical or procedural events, other “never events” can include:
- Criminal events, including sexual abuse, assault, or abductions carried out by physicians, nurses, or other medical staff members
- Product or device events, such as injuries associated with contaminated drugs or devices
- Environmental events, such as injuries associated with the use of restraints or bedrails in a healthcare setting
- Radiologic events, including serious injuries or deaths caused during MRI scans
We Stand Up to Medical Negligence
With more than two decades of experience handling and settling medical malpractice claims, the Law Offices of David C. Rash know how to fight for our clients’ rights to compensation after injuries caused by doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals. We’re raised to expect our physicians to heal us and make us feel better, not cause further injuries and put our lives in danger. With us by your side, you can focus on healing from your injuries while we work to regain what you’ve lost in damages.
Help us ensure that the medical professional who caused your injuries doesn’t hurt others. Call us for a free consultation today at (954) 914-7116 or contact us online. We’ve recovered billions for clients who have been injured by negligent individuals and entities.