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Hospitals Need to Do More to Prevent Never Events

A recent study found that despite significant improvements in surgery, surgeons, doctors and other health care professionals still make mistakes at a shocking rate. In fact, a 2012 Johns Hopkins study found that serious mistakes - ones that should never happen and cause devastating harm - called "never events" - happen more often than we would like to think.

The study found that surgeons leave an object behind an average of 39 times per week. Additionally, the study found that the wrong procedure is performed (or the wrong body part is operated on) an average of 20 times per week. Overall, the study's researchers estimated that never events happen at least 4,044 times per year. This actual number may be even higher since many "never events" go undetected or unreported.

Further, the study also looked at the impact of never events have on patients. Of the patients studied, 59.2% had temporary injuries and 32.9% suffered permanent harm. Unfortunately, such errors also can be fatal; the study found that 6.6 % of patients were killed as a result of never events. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or harm as the result of a "never event" it's critical you consult with a skilled California medical malpractice lawyer right away.

An experienced California personal injury attorney can begin an investigation into just what happened and provide your family critical guidance into the next best steps. "Never events" include such things as operating on the wrong arm, leg or person; performing the wrong type of surgery; and leaving surgical objects behind in the patient once the operation has been completed.

What is perhaps the most disturbing is that never events are easily prevented. For example, tracking chips can be embedded in surgical tools such as sponges, allowing the surgical team to quickly tell if any object has been left behind. Additionally, wrong-site surgeries can easily be prevented by using a marker to indicate the correct site for the surgery on the patient's body.

Despite the ease of preventing these errors, most hospitals have been reluctant to implement necessary changes. Many times, it takes a medical malpractice lawsuit to make hospitals understand the necessity of implementing safety procedures. If you or a loved one has been injured by a surgical error, contact an experienced California medical malpractice attorney right away to help your family obtain the compensation it deserves.

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