Willens Law Offices Articles Surgical "Never Events" - Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Surgical "Never Events" - Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers

By Matthew Willens  Dec. 23, 2016 11:12a

Each years, thousands of Americans undergo some kind of surgery, and when they do so they trust their surgeon with their life and well-being. However, in some cases this trust is broken, and the surgeons commit some error. Unfortunately, these errors occur more commonly than you can imagine. A recent study conducted by the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, medical errors are responsible for causing more than 250,000 deaths each year. This means, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Most surgical errors cause serious consequences, however, some are so severe that they are known as "never events". In this post, our Chicago medical malpractice lawyer will discuss surgical never events in detail.

The term “never events” was coined by the National Quality Forum to describe errors that are so egregious that they should ideally never occur under any circumstances. The statistics released by John Hopkins patient safety researchers, as many as 4,000 never events occur each year. There are four common types of surgical errors that are considered never events. These include:

Leaving a foreign object inside of patients: Surgeons sometimes leave foreign objects such as sponges, gloves, or other kinds of medical supplies inside of patients. This can lead to severe complications depending on where the object was left and what was it. In many cases, the patient experiences severe pain and may suffer an infection. In severe cases, the patient can die.

Wrong surgery performed on the patient: Failing to confirm the correct procedure, a clinical error and miscommunication can lead to incorrect surgical procedure being performed.

Surgery performed on the wrong patient: Failing to confirm which patient is on the operating table, a clerical error, and miscommunication are some of the errors that can cause the procedure to be performed on the wrong patient. This type of error happens nearly 20 times a week. It can lead to complications such as unnecessary amputations, organ removal and even death.

Surgery performed on the wrong body part: The same errors that can lead to other types of surgical never events can result in the surgeon performing the procedure on the wrong body part. These types of errors can necessitate unnecessary removal of an otherwise healthy body part or organ. In severe cases, it can lead to death of the patient especially if the patient was due for another emergency procedure and was instead operated upon for something else.

As we said earlier, nothing can justify the negligence of a surgeon responsible for a surgical never event. The consequences are often grim, and the patient is faced with huge expenses, if they even survive the wrong surgery. Victims should get in touch with a competent and qualified Chicago medical malpractice lawyer, who can fight for their rights.

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