While we prefer to think of surgeons and other healthcare providers as infallible, the truth is that preventable medical mistakes happen. When these mistakes happen in the operating room, they can lead to devastating consequences. Moreover, according to a study from Johns Hopkins, these surgical never events injure or kill more than 4,000 people in the United States every year.

What are surgical never events?

The National Quality Forum (NQF) defines surgical never events as medical errors that are entirely preventable and therefore should never occur. When they do occur, however, the consequences can be serious and life altering. Since the introduction of the term in 2001, the NQF has developed a list of 29 never events.

What are some examples of surgical never events?

Included in the NQF list of never events are a number of surgery-related occurrences. These are:

  • Doctors perform the wrong surgery on a patient
  • Doctors perform surgery on the wrong patient
  • Doctors perform the correct surgery on the correct patient, but in an incorrect site
  • Doctors leave a foreign object, such as an instrument or surgical sponge, inside a patient
  • An otherwise healthy patient dies during or immediately following surgery

How do never events happen?

For many surgical never events, several specific situations line up at once to provide an environment where the never event becomes possible. These situations can include a number of problems, most commonly including:

  • Human factors: Fatigued, rushed, or otherwise distracted staff; understaffing in the operating room; or a lack of competency among staff
  • Communication issues: Can be between the patient and doctors; the doctors and other medical staff; or the medical staff and the patient’s family
  • Assessment mistakes: Improper or missed diagnosis, inadequate testing, misplaced or mixed up samples, or misreading test results
  • Leadership factors: Inadequate hospital policies, limited options for complaint resolution, non-compliance with recommended standards or protocols, poor priority setting, and lack of organizational planning

How do I prove malpractice and receive compensation?

Surgical never events leave victims with physical and emotional scars, as well as high medical bills and other financial damages. Most surgical never events qualify as medical malpractice, meaning victims may be eligible to receive compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

To be eligible for compensation, you must provide evidence that satisfies the four elements of medical malpractice. These are:

  • The doctor or other medical professional had an obligation to treat your medical condition reasonably and appropriately, providing a standard of care equal to or better than his equally qualified peers.
  • The doctor failed to provide responsible and appropriate treatment for your medical needs.
  • This failure caused injuries or worsened your condition.
  • You suffered actual damage, including increased hospital bills, additional medical care, or additional pain and suffering.

Evidence may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Medical expert testimony
  • Medical records
  • Photos

How can the Montero Law Center in Ft. Lauderdale help?

If you believe your injuries are due to a surgical never event, be sure to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer from the Montero Law Group. We can organize evidence, get you in touch with a medical expert, help you file a claim or lawsuit, and negotiate for the settlement you deserve. Contact us today at 954-767-6500 to learn more.