Surgical never events are a common risk for Texas patients

Surgical never events, or surgical errors that are considered preventable, may cause patients to suffer worsened medical conditions, or death.

Often, people in Georgetown, and throughout Texas, require surgical intervention to repair internal damage, or address other ailments. Surgical patients trust in their surgeons to use good judgment and be focused on performing their procedure. However, surgical mistakes commonly occur, many of which are preventable. Often, these mistakes can cause patients further medical issues.

Surgical errors that can be prevented are often referred to as surgical never events. This is because these events are generally thought of as preventable. Thus, they should never occur. A study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimated that more than 4,000 surgical never events happen each year in the U.S.

Common surgical never events

There are numerous medical mistakes, which may be categorized as surgical never events. According to the National Quality Forum, some of the most common of these errors include the following:

  • Wrong-site surgeries
  • Performing incorrect procedures
  • Air embolisms
  • Unintended retained foreign objects
  • Performing procedures on the wrong patient

Additionally, the administration of contaminated medications, or use of contaminated devices, may be considered never events. In some cases, patient falls, as well as the development of pressure ulcers may also fit into this category of medical errors. These types of surgical errors are generally considered to be preventable if proper care is taken.

Causes of preventable surgical mistakes

Surgical never events can result from any number of factors. Fatigue and distraction may be among the contributing factors. The time of day that a procedure is performed may also play a part in causing surgical errors. In addition to these factors, failing to establish, or adhere to, safety protocols can also lead to surgical never events. Generally, surgeons have a responsibility to stay focused on the task at hand while performing surgical procedures. Furthermore, surgeons should reschedule procedures if they cannot safely operate due to fatigue.

Complications from surgical errors

Patients may suffer a range of effects due to surgical never events. Often, this type of medical negligence can result in infection, broken bones and other serious conditions. This may cause them to need further medical treatment, including additional surgical procedures. In some cases, patients who are the victims of surgical never events may not survive.

According to the Johns Hopkins University study, which examined 9,744 paid malpractice claims and judgments, 59.2 percent resulted in temporary injury. Furthermore, patients suffered permanent injury in 32.9 percent of these cases. The study reported that death occurred in 6.6 percent of the patients in the cases examined.

Seek legal counsel

Often, the resulting effects of surgical never events can lead to undue expenses for patients, and their families. This may include added medical expenses or funerary costs, as well as lost income. People who have been the victims of this type of surgical mistake may benefit from consulting with a legal representative. An attorney may help them to understand their rights and determine whether legal action is appropriate in their situation.

Keywords: malpractice, surgical error, injury