Surgeries are part of mainstream modern medicine and can treat issues ranging from joint failure to cancer. Doctors are capable of performing incredibly intricate procedures, sometimes with the assistance of specialized robotic devices. They also have sterile operating rooms and numerous supporting staff members helping.
With so much technology and support available, doctors should never make catastrophic mistakes while operating on patients. However, surgical never events still occur in modern medical facilities. Experts estimate that a surgical mistake that should never happen (called a never event) will happen roughly once every decade at any given major medical facility.
What are the common surgical never events?
There are many kinds of minor surgical mistakes that can affect the success of a procedure or the patient’s recovery process afterward. Never events are much more serious.
One of the more common never events is when a surgeon leaves foreign objects behind in a patient, such as a clamp or a gauze. Rigid items could cause tissue damage, and anything left behind is a serious infection risk.
Performing the wrong procedure or operating on the wrong patient is another form of never event that continues to occur despite many advances in operating room technology. Finally, performing the procedure on the wrong body part is also a common never event. The surgeon might remove a healthy kidney while leaving the diseased one on the other side of the body.
Patients who experience a never event often die or have lifelong medical consequences. Filing a medical malpractice claim after a surgical error can help the family hold the physician involved accountable.