Preventable surgical mistakes, or surgical never events, occur all too often, putting patients at risk for worsened medical conditions or death.

People in the Houston Metro area, and throughout Texas, frequently require surgical interventions. This may be to repair internal damage, treat the symptoms of certain medical ailments or to address other conditions. When going under the knife, patients generally expect their conditions to improve, not worsen. All too often, however, preventable physician errors and medical mistakes occur, putting patients at risk.

What are surgical never events?

Some medical mistakes are unavoidable. However, others should not occur provided health care professionals take proper care. These types of errors are commonly referred to as surgical never events because it is held that they should not ever happen. According to American Medical News, a recent study found that 78.5 preventable surgical errors occur every week to patients across the U.S.

Common preventable surgical mistakes

There are numerous errors that may be considered surgical never events. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, some of the most common preventable surgical mistakes include the following:

  • Performing the incorrect surgical procedure
  • Executing a surgical procedure on the wrong body part or on the wrong site
  • Conducting a surgical procedure on the wrong patient

Additionally, mistakenly leaving a foreign object, such as a sponge or other medical equipment, inside a patient after a surgery is also considered a surgical never event.

What causes surgical never events?

In general, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the occurrence of surgical never events. The Mayo Clinic reports that distractions, mental fatigue, stress and poor hand-offs frequently play a role in causing these types of medical mistakes. In addition, poor communication between health care providers may also be a factor in some surgical never events.

Often, preventable surgical mistakes occur due to issues at the facility level. Inadequate staffing and supervision, as well as issues with the operational processes may result in surgical never events. Further, these types of errors may happen when medical professionals fail to understand, brake or bend the rules.

How are patients affected by preventable surgical errors?

Patients who suffer surgical never events may experience a range of effects. In some cases, these types of preventable mistakes may cause sepsis, infections or even broken bones, among other ailments. For patients who are suffering from serious medical conditions, the effects of surgical never events may be particularly dangerous. Due to these effects, patients may need extended medical treatment, which may include additional surgical procedures. The effects of preventable surgical errors may be fatal for some patients.

Consulting with an attorney

The effects of surgical never events may be devastating for Texas patients, and their families. As a result of such mistakes, they often incur additional medical expenses and, in some cases, may lose income while they are off of work recovering. Depending on the circumstances, the health care professionals who make preventable surgical errors may be held responsible for the resulting damages. Thus, those who have been the victims of surgical never events may find it helpful to work with an attorney. A lawyer may help them understand their rights and explain their options for seeking compensation.

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