In the medical industry, there’s a term known as a “NEVER EVENT,” which refers to mistakes and substandard care issues that should never occur but, unfortunately, often do. When you seek medical care at a Texas hospital or healthcare facility, you should be able to believe that the doctors, nurses and other medical team members assigned to your case will act in accordance with state laws and accepted safety standards. NEVER EVENTS happen when corners are cut or safety standards are not followed.
One of the major areas where patients are at risk for NEVER EVENTS is during surgery. This, in part, is due to the fact that patient is typically unconscious during the surgery and unable to advocate for themselves. Although there are well-established safety mechanisms that are known to prevent NEVER EVENTS during the surgical period, the failure of healthcare providers and hospitals to implement or follow these checklists and mechanisms can place your life at risk.
Surgical errors that can cause you serious injury
Before you undergo surgery, your surgeon is required to inform you of the known risks involved with the procedure so that you can agree to the operation by informed consent. The following list includes common surgical errors that are not part of the typical risk factors because each issue suggests an egregious mistake somewhere in the medical team hierarchy:
- Foreign objects left inside the body of a patient
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Performing the wrong surgical procedure
- Doing the correct surgery on the wrong part of the body
Additionally, the intraoperative or immediately postoperative death of a healthy patient is subject to the same scrutiny. It is difficult to imagine being scheduled for a right knee replacement, only to awaken from surgery to discover that the surgeon replaced the left knee by mistake. Such errors have devastating and sometimes permanent repercussions in a patient’s life. If a surgeon leaves a tool or other item inside your body, you are at risk for a severe, if not life-threatening, infection, injury to surrounding organs due to migration, and other complications.
Causes of NEVER EVENTS
Omissions in essential practices contribute to unsafe surgical care and are well-known to cause serious harm to patients. Surgical Never Events should never happen. – PubMed (nih.gov) Many studies have investigated the causes of NEVER EVENTS, and what policies, procedures and protocols can be put in place to prevent them. The primary factors that have been identified as the primary or contributing causes of surgical NEVER EVENTS are:
- Organizational influences
- Oversight and supervisory factors
- Unsafe actions
- Preconditions for actions
Navigating the aftermath of a surgical error
With regard to a foreign object being left inside your body, you might not become aware of the problem for days, weeks or even years until symptoms of infection or illness arise. Other surgical errors might be apparent much sooner. Depending on the situation, you might need to undergo yet another surgery to repair the damage that a surgeon’s or other medical team member’s negligence has caused, or suffer life-long problems. The emotional scars and financial distress that often result in such cases merely intensifies the trauma. Many patients have sought justice by seeking financial recovery for damages in civil court.
The occurrence of a NEVER EVENT is a sign of negligence. If you or a loved one has sustained a NEVER EVENT and need help navigating the complications that have ensured, contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your options.