Why Do “Never Events” Happen?

Posted on June 15, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

Last week, we wrote a blog post on the future of surgical procedures and the widespread use of advanced robotics. In the post, we discussed how robots were so accurate they could perform brain surgery on one of the world’s smallest insects and had error rates of close to zero percent.

Human error during surgery, called “never events” by the medical community, happen for various reasons. Researchers affiliated with the Mayo Clinic have identified several causes for “never events”, such as performing surgery in the wrong area, putting in the wrong implant, and leaving objects in patients. Mayo Clinic statistics suggest that 1 in 22,000 procedures result in a never event, but figures released by the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) show the frequency is almost twice that amount.

According to the NPDB, never events happen in about 1 in 12,000 procedures performed in the U.S. Researchers with the Mayo Clinic have sought out evidence for why these never events happen. Human behavioral flaws such as stress, distraction and mental fatigue were responsible for many never events. Other factors include breaking or bending rules, lack of oversight and organizational problems within hospitals.

Can Hospitals And Surgeons Be Held Accountable For Never Events?

Patients injured by never events and grieving family members might have options to pursue damages against negligent hospitals and surgeons. Depending on the circumstances, patients and family members might be able to file wrongful death or medical malpractice suits.

By contacting a medical malpractice attorney, patients and family members can discover what options are available for seeking justice.

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