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Surgical Errors

Injured? Call a medical malpractice lawyer in Las Vegas, NV

A surgical error is never acceptable and should never happen, this is why they are referred to as “never events.” Unfortunately, there has been an alarming growth in the rate of these never events within the past few years. Surgical errors of this nature are inexcusable, and the fault lies solely with the medical practitioners. According to a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine in 2012, there are approximately more than 4,000 surgical mistakes that take place in the United States each year.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) explains that the term “never event” was coined in 2001 after a series of shocking medical errors had been occurring. These types of errors included wrong-site surgery and leaving medical devices inside of a patient after surgery. The National Quality Forum (NQF), when this first began to appear as a problem, further identified never events into three categories: unambiguous, serious and usually preventable. Now, there are 29 types of never events that fall under six different main categories. Those are:

  • Wrong-Site Surgery
  • Suicide
  • Op/Post-Op Complication
  • Delay in Treatment
  • Medication Error
  • Patient Fall

If you or someone you love was injured in this way, please do not hesitate to speak with a Nevada personal injury lawyer from our firm. At Shook & Stone, we fight for victims of medical malpractice so that they are fully compensated for their physical and emotional injuries.

“Never Events” Occurring Far Too Often

Listed below are just some of the shocking statistics about never events and surgical errors:

  • 9,744 cases were identified between 1990 and 2010
  • Out of these nearly 10,000 cases, six percent died, 32.9 percent suffered permanent injury and nearly 60 percent suffered temporary injury
  • Each year, there can be as many as 1,500 instances of “surgical souvenirs” which is another way to describe surgeons leaving medical devices behind inside a patient post-surgery
  • A mere 12 percent of surgical errors result in indemnity payments (financial compensation)

Surgical errors should not be confused with “surgical complications” which may not be preventable. Calling a surgical error a surgical complication is a way for a doctor and medical center to attempt to shift liability off of themselves. While some surgical procedures are dangerous by nature, other injuries occur purely because of doctor negligence.

Call Shook & Stone!

Regulations from The Joint Commission (the entity that regulates the medical industry) require that hospitals report these never events when they do occur. Statistics indicate that these events are decreasing on an annual basis, but many medical researchers believe that this is because hospitals have the ability to refuse to disclose the name of individual doctors responsible for these never events. Some cases and settlements can remain confidential and therefore they would not appear in the practitioner database.

Some examples of the nearly 30 recognized never events are surgery performed on the wrong patient, infants being discharged to the wrong guardians, maternal death or disability caused by hypoglycemia and even patient suicide (or attempted suicide) while under the care of a medical professional. If this describes a situation that you endured and you are seeking legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact a Las Vegas medical malpractice attorney from our firm for a free consultation today.