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How often do surgical errors known as 'never events' occur?

You may be lucky enough to go through your entire life without the need for a surgical procedure. On the other hand, you may be like many other people who must prepare to undergo a surgery at some point. Either way, it is important to learn about the things that could go wrong inside a surgical suite just in case you do have to go under a surgeon's scalpel.

A "never event" is a term used to discuss surgical errors that should never, ever happen. While it could be argued that no surgical error should ever happen, never events are so egregious that they typically stand out as examples of gross negligence by a surgeon, other members of the surgical team or the hospital itself. Illinois is home to many prestigious hospitals, but even in facilities with the finest reputation, never events can and do occur. Here are a few statistics to consider:

  • A 2013 study revealed that over 4,000 surgery-related never events occur on an annual basis in the U.S.
  • More than 70 percent of never events reported between 1995 and 2015 resulted in death.
  • A 2006 study revealed that the average hospital might experience surgical errors involving wrong-site surgery once in each five- to 10-year period.
  • The most common surgical error reported as a never event is leaving surgical equipment inside of patients.
  • The second most common surgical never event reported involves performing surgery on the wrong body part, on the wrong patient or performing the wrong procedure entirely.

Talking with your surgeon about never events before your procedure is always a good idea. This helps to remind surgeons to practice due caution in the operating room. Should a surgical error injure you or a loved one, an attorney can help you take the appropriate legal action that will hold all responsible parties to account for your suffering.

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