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“Never Events” in Surgery

Undergoing surgery comes with a certain amount of risk that patients must accept before their procedures. There are some mistakes, however, that are so obvious that they are never permissible. Commonly referred to as “never events”, these kinds of errors include everything from operating on the wrong patient to performing the wrong procedure. Unlike many surgical errors, which require the assistance of a medical expert to understand (due to their complexity), even laymen know that never events don’t occur unless someone is being negligent or reckless. 

While the negligence-related aspects of these cases are relatively straightforward, proving damages can still be difficult, so if you or a loved one were the victims of a surgical error, you should consider retaining a Miami medical malpractice lawyer who can help you build a strong case. 

What are “Never Events”?

A “never event” is a term used to describe an error in medical care that is:

  • Clearly identifiable;
  • Preventable;
  • Serious for patients; and
  • Indicative of a problem with the credibility and safety of a healthcare facility. 

Some of the most common “never events” include:

  • Operating on the wrong site;
  • Performing the wrong procedure;
  • Operating on the wrong patient;
  • Conducting a mismatched blood transfusion;
  • Operating on the wrong side of the patient’s body; and
  • Leaving surgical tools or medical devices inside of a patient. 

These are the kinds of mistakes that should never happen in a surgical procedure, so when they do occur, patients are entitled to some form of compensation for their medical expenses and other losses. 

Liability for “Never Events”

These kinds of avoidable mistakes occur much more often than most people realize. In fact, in one study, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that a surgeon in the U.S. will leave a foreign object inside of a patient after an operation nearly 40 times a week, and will perform the wrong procedure, or operate on the wrong patient at least 20 times a week. This trend could have a number of different causes, but most experts believe that the primary cause of “never events” is a lack of communication in the operating room and a failure to comply with postoperative safety guidelines. Perhaps the only silver lining in “never event” cases is that lawsuits tend to be settled relatively quickly in comparison to other medical malpractice cases, as most hospitals are wary of putting this kind of case in front of a jury. If a “never event” case does end up going to trial, it will usually involve a question of damages, or how much the injured party is entitled to in damages. Building a case for full and fair damages will require a legal team that has extensive experience in handling these types of claims. 

Available to You 24 Hours a Day, Seven Days a Week

Few people go into their surgical procedures expecting to be involved in a “never event”. Those that do, however, end up in these situations, should be sure to obtain legal representation when seeking compensation for their losses. To learn more about how a dedicated Florida medical malpractice attorney could help with your own case, please call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP at 305-371-2692 today.