In the medical profession, a “never event” is something that should never happen. Doctors have to make judgment calls every day, and sometimes those judgments will be wrong. Every wrong judgment is not medical malpractice. But a “never event” is not a bad judgment call. It’s blatant medical malpractice, no matter how you slice it. And a new study claims it happens 80 times a week:
About 80 times each week, U.S. patients undergoing surgery experience mistakes that safety advocates say never should happen.
The types of errors being made: Surgical instruments such as sponges are unintentionally left behind in the patient; a wrong procedure is performed; a wrong surgical site is operated upon; and surgery is done on the wrong patient altogether.
The study offers a number of disturbing statistics and conclusions. What’s even more disturbing, but not discussed in this article, is the fact that legislatures around the country are trying to find ways to make it harder for patients who were victims of never events to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.