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What is a “never event” during surgery?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

The average patient who needs surgery will be relatively nervous about the procedure. However, surgeons undergo years of training to ensure that they can safely operate on individuals.

Surgeons who follow best practices can save someone’s life or drastically increase their overall quality of life. Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong during surgery. Some issues arise due to factors outside of the control of medical professionals. Other times, what happens in surgery is the fault of the professionals involved. Surgical “never events” occur far more often than people realize and can have tragic consequences for the patient involved.

Many medical facilities have clear rules regarding what surgeons should do during procedures. There are also best practices established by professionals in different areas of specialization in medicine, including surgery. Never events are mistakes so egregious that medical professionals assert that they should never happen in a modern medical facility.

What are some examples?

They can cause massive harm to a patient and represent a gross oversight by the professionals involved in the procedure. Wrong-site or wrong-side procedures are common never events. They occur when doctors operate on the wrong part of the body. Wrong-patient or wrong-procedure mistakes are also never events that happen every week in the United States. Items left behind inside someone’s body during surgery also are a common type of never event.

Patients who experience surgical never events and other forms of medical negligence often have significant expenses and lasting consequences because of those errors. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may be an appropriate response to a surgical never event.