People place a high level of trust in the medical professionals who care for them. That trust is seldom higher than when anesthesia is administered during a surgical procedure and prevents patients from maintaining any level of control.
While surgery often creates a better quality of life or even saves the lives of patients, it also carries a potentially high level of risk. Anyone who goes into a hospital for surgery assumes the facility has basic safeguards in place to prevent obvious mistakes.
Errors in medical treatment that were easily preventable but cause serious consequences for patients are called “never events.” These mistakes, or events, are considered so egregious, they should never have happened. Never events include errors like surgery performed on the wrong part of the body, such as the wrong knee, wrong tooth, or the wrong eye, invasive surgery performed on the wrong patient, or foreign objects left inside a patient after surgery.
In December 2012, Johns Hopkins Medicine reported that surgical never-events occur at least 4,000 times annually. Their analysis of medical malpractice judgments and claims over 20 years found that never events resulted in 6.6% patients’ deaths, 32.9% permanent injuries, and 59.2% temporary injuries.
Common surgical errors and their estimated error rates include:
- Retained foreign objects – 49.9%
- Performance of the incorrect procedure – 25.1%
- Surgery performed on the wrong site on the body – 24.8 %
- Procedures performed on the wrong patient – 0.3 %
If something goes wrong, patients and their families need to know whether the cause involves unavoidable circumstances or preventable surgical errors. If you have been the victim of surgical error, call Clay now! Our medical malpractice attorneys can provide an initial consultation FREE of charge to you regardless of whether you retain our services.