“Never events” are medical mistakes that should never happen, period. They are not accepted risks. They are not rare complications that are sometimes unavoidable. They are flat-out mistakes that are entirely preventable. And yet, in a study published in 2012, researchers estimated that over 4,000 surgical never event claims are filed in the U.S. each year. The actual number of surgical never events may be much higher, because not all of these events result in claims.
What Are Surgical Never Events?
Surgical never events include:
- Foreign object left in patient’s body after surgery. Examples include surgical instruments, sponges, and gauze.
- Wrong surgery performed on the patient.
- Surgery performed on the wrong body part.
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient.
- Normal, healthy patient dies during or immediately after surgery. “Normal and healthy” meaning an American Society Anesthesiologist Class I patient.
Surgical never events can be fatal or cause irreversible harm to the patient. For instance, when a surgeon removes the wrong body part, you can’t just put it back. If a patient was to have their left leg amputated, and the surgeon mistakenly removes his right leg, the patient will still have to have the other leg amputated. Now they’re left with no legs, instead of one leg, which is much more difficult to adapt to and live with for the rest of your life. And, the risk of complications after the surgeries is far greater.
If you have been the victim of a surgical never event, or any kind of medical never event, please, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney right away to learn more about your legal rights.