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Never Events: Medical Mistakes that Should Never Happen

Johns Hopkins University safety researchers recently conducted an exhaustive study regarding the frequency of “never events”—which refer to the types of medical mistakes that should never happen.

In this study, it was discovered that, on average, medical professionals throughout the U.S. are:

  • Leaving foreign objects in a patient’s body 39 times a week
  • Performing the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week
  • Operating on the wrong part of the body 20 times a week

According to reports from Surgery, an online medical journal, it is estimated that 80,000 never events occurred in American hospitals between 1990 and 2010.

Their findings were the first to quantify the national rate of these so-called “never events,” shedding light on the prevalence of this problem.

Understanding the High Cost of “Never Events”

According to Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and study leader, “This study highlights that we are nowhere near where we should be.” When Makary and his colleagues conducted further research into the issue, they discovered that 9,744 malpractice claims involved never events between 1990 and 2010.

These claims resulted in total payments of $1.3 billion for victims and their families. They also discovered that, in regard to never events, patient death occurred in 6.6% of cases, permanent injury occurred in 32.9% of cases, and temporary injury occurred in 59.2% of cases. In conclusion, Makary and his colleagues have estimated that 4,044 surgical never events occur in the U.S. every year.

What Is Being Done to Solve This Issue?

To prevent never events, many medical centers will use standard patient safety procedures. These may include mandatory “timeouts,” wherein the surgeons must match the medical records and surgical plans to the patient before beginning the operation, indelible ink to mark the surgical site on the patient’s body, procedures for counting sponges, towels, and surgical items prior to surgery, and more.

However, even with these procedures in place, never events continue to happen. In fact, Domina Law Group recently resolved a medical malpractice claim involving a never event—which caused our client to suffer a permanent impairment of her limb. “We have another such case in progress now,” explains Dave Domina. If you too have been injured by a never event, please give us a call today.

Our Omaha personal injury lawyers have recovered more than $2 billion for past clients. Find out how Domina Law Group can help by contacting our office today.

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When Medical Procedures Go Wrong

“Never events” are events that sometimes take place during medical procedures that should never occur. These types of events only occur when the standard of care that a medical professional owes you as the patient is breached, and they fail to uphold their duty to provide the care you deserve. Although medical malpractice cases are common, clients often mistakenly believe that if a surgery is not 100% perfect they may have been a victim of malpractice.

Unfortunately, the standard we are afforded as medical patients in the United States of America is only average. There is no duty of a medical professional or a doctor to provide anything other than average care. When things go drastically wrong, such as amputating the wrong leg—yes we had a lawsuit over this—or other obvious and blatant mistakes, you still need a lawyer to help you navigate through the web of the medical defense world and, most importantly, the giant insurance companies which do not want to see any of their precious dollars finding their way to your pocket to compensate you, even if, physicians or institutions are 100% at fault.

Domina Law represents a woman who was having a medical procedure requiring a Port-A-Cath placement and the physician failed to realize the guidewire of the Port-A-Cath was left inside the patient which then migrated throughout her body causing extreme pain, discomfort, and mental anguish of realizing something was inside her and she had no control over it.

After getting a revisionary surgery to address this issue, she contacted us. We worked with the individuals involved and were able to settle the matter confidentially so the client and her husband had some peace of mind with the result and what they went through.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of what you believe is medical negligence, please contact us today so we can review your potential case!

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