March 5, 2013

Surgical Never Events Occur at Least 4,000 a Year, Study Finds

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins University, surgical “never events," the term used to describe occurrences that should never occur, such as operations on an incorrect body part or performing the incorrect procedure, are happening at a rate of at least 4,000 times per year.

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The study revealed some startling results. The researchers estimate that surgeons within the United States operate on the wrong part of the body at least 20 times a week, perform the incorrect procedure on a patient at least 20 times a week, and leave a foreign object (such as a tool, or sponge, for example) inside a patient's body after an operation some 39 times a week.

The study was based on an examination of 20 years worth of information from a national database, which hospitals are required to report those never events that lead to a settlement or judgement. However, researchers believe that the incidence of these events is probably higher, because not all items left behind during surgery are ultimately discovered.

According to the results of the study, there were a total of 9,744 malpractice judgments, with payouts in the various lawsuits totaling $1.3 billion. All told, 6.6% of patients died as a result of these mistakes, 39.2% incurred permanent injuries, and 59.2% suffered only temporary injury. It is almost shocking that these are potentially not even representative of all the damage that could be being wreaked in silence in those patients who have not yet discovered they may have foreign objects left behind from their surgeries.

These never events seem to be more shocking than typical medical errors, because we would hope that hospitals keep track of all the various instruments involved in a surgery, and at the very least keep the procedures and various body parts straight. However, mistakes do happen, and when they do, you'll want to contact an experienced attorney to represent you.

Though it may be hard to believe, pharmacy errors occur at a much higher rate, and can have just as profound results. In fact, it is estimated that at least 1.5 million people are affected every year, at least 400,000 of these within hospitals. Medication errors can cause harmful side effects, allergic reaction, injury, and in some cases even death.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pharmacy error or injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen to discuss your case today.

Our attorneys have many years of experience in successfully representing individuals who have suffered injuries, damages, harms and losses due to receiving the wrong prescriptions or incorrect medicine due to pharmacy errors. You can contact us through our website, or by calling 1-800-654-1949 to schedule your initial complimentary consultation.


More Blog Posts:

Check Your Pills Twice: Pharmacist Gives Woman Incorrect Pills, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 19, 2013

Study Examines the Use of Antipsychotic Medications to Treat Children with ADHD, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published January 30, 2013