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What Are Surgical Never Events?

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There are countless risks and dangers associated with any surgical procedure. Unfortunately, to err is human, and most surgical mistakes are preventable and the result of gross human negligence. Due to hospital understaffing, surgical teams are habitually overwhelmed and fatigued from having to operate on a rotating cycle of patients throughout the day. Oftentimes, these patients become numbers and records, not people, which increases the likelihood of a surgeon making a tragic mistake or performing a “surgical never event.”

As the appellation implies, surgical never events are serious medical errors that should never happen and are usually preventable. According to Jitendra Kumar and Rajni Raina, the authors of “’Never Events in Surgery’: Mere Error or Avoidable Disaster,” surgical never events are “not an uncommon occurrence. It is difficult to find any surgeon who never had an experience of one or another kind of mistake, committed while delivering the surgical care to the patient.” In their study, they classify four types of never events: human error, communication error, system failure, and equipment failure.

Surgical never events include, but are not limited to:

  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Operating on the wrong body parts
  • Leaving materials or surgical tools inside a patient
  • Accidentally damaging tissues and nerves
  • Utilizing contaminated surgical devices that lead to patient death or disability
  • Sexually assaulting a patient
  • Transfusing incompatible blood or organs
  • Prescribing medications that lead to patient death or disability

It’s easy to point fingers and make up excuses in the aftermath of a never event. Even so, most surgical never events occur because surgeons are practicing unprofessional behaviors or are the victims of administrative failures. But no matter the sequence of events that led to an incident, all hospitals need to take a proactive stance to mitigate the damage and aid the patient. This includes apologizing to the patient, waiving any associated financial costs, and reporting the event to an outside agency within 10 days (such as the Patient Safety Organization or the Joint Commission).

However, it’s not unusual for a hospital to dodge responsibility by trying to cover up an incident or pretending that the negligent surgeon is protected by a signed waiver. There is no excuse for a surgical never event, and the Daspit Law Firm is not afraid to litigate against hospital insurance companies and legal teams to help a patient secure justice and restitution.

The Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Claim

Like personal injury cases, medical malpractice claims are also governed by a time limit, or a statute of limitations. Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 74.251, a plaintiff has 2 years to file a medical malpractice claim. If you fail to file your claim by the deadline, your path to monetary damages may be forfeit. Of course, there may various nuances and exceptions that can influence the statute of limitations. For this reason, it’s important to retain the services of an experienced attorney before filing your medical malpractice claim. At Daspit Law Firm, we can investigate the never event, research the surgeon’s career history, and develop a litigation strategy that proves your condition is the result of a medical professional’s negligence.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Contact the Daspit Law Firm if you or a loved one has been grievously harmed by the negligent actions of a surgeon. We can review your case, explore your legal options, and consult with medical experts to establish that the hospital and its staff violated the standard of care. With our assistance, you can recover damages that account for your ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and more.

Contact the Daspit Law Firm at (888) 273-1045 to schedule a free consultation today.

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