Surgical errors that should never occur have acquired a name, called "never events." These types of errors are a form of medical malpractice. In many cases, patients who suffer from them have a legal basis to pursue a medical malpractice case.
The three main types of never events are wrong-site, wrong-patient and wrong-procedure surgery.
Sometimes surgeons operate on the wrong site, such as removing the wrong kidney, operating on the wrong vertebra or removing an appendix when that was not the patient's medical issue.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) wrong site surgeries are rare, but are becoming more common. The number of wrong-site surgeries being reported increased from 15 cases in 1998 to 592 cats in 2007. It is likely that medical practitioners do not report about 10 percent of the wrong-site surgeries that occur.
An example is two patients are under the medical care of the same surgeon and have the same or a similar last name. Their medical charts get mixed up and the patient receives the surgery intended for the other patient.
The surgeon performs an appendectomy when the patient was scheduled for hernia surgery.
When hospitals or outpatient surgery offices lack a formal system to verify patients and medical procedures, these types of surgical errors have a greater risk of occurring. Types of preventative measures include:
When reasonable precautions to prevent surgical errors are missing, evidence may point to medical malpractice.
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