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What Are Surgical Never Events?


When patients undergo medical or surgical procedures, it’s often with the expectation that they are going to receive exceptional care that may save or improve the quality of their lives. Unfortunately, to err is human, and sometimes surgeons and medical staffers commit mistakes so abhorrent that they are referred to as “Never Events.” As the term implies, Never Events are serious medical errors that should never happen and are often largely preventable.

Never Events include, but are not limited to:

  • Surgery performed on the wrong patient
  • Surgery performed on the wrong body part
  • Patient death or disability due to medication errors
  • Patient death or disability due to contaminated surgical devices
  • Sexual assault of a patient
  • Leaving materials or surgical tools inside a patient post-operation
  • Overdose of insulin due to using an incorrect device
  • Transfusion of incompatible blood or organs

Typically, most Never Events occur due to system flaws and reckless or unprofessional behaviors. To assist hospitals in preventing Never Events, the World Health Organization provides a comprehensive Surgical Safety Checklist to help medical staffers ensure patient safety.

All hospitals are encouraged to take a proactive stance when a Never Event occurs. This includes apologizing to the victim and the victim’s family, waiving any related financial costs, reporting the event to an outside agency within 10 days (such as the Joint Commission or a Patient Safety Organization), and making a copy of the policy available upon request.

Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been grievously harmed by the negligent actions of a hospital and its staff, contact the Charleston medical malpractice lawyers at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC. Our legal team can investigate your claim, examine any applicable evidence, consult with medical experts, and represent your case before insurance companies and the court. 

Contact our Charleston medical malpractice attorneys at (843) 968-0886 to schedule a consultation.

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