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What are surgical never events and how can they affect you?

Like others in New York, you may have, at one point or another, needed surgery to repair internal damage or treat a medical condition, among other reasons. When undergoing such procedures, you, and other patients, put your life and wellbeing in the hands of your medical provider. All too often, however, surgical errors occur that could be prevented.

Some of the most common medical mistakes are referred to as surgical never events. This is because it is believed that these errors are preventable, and thus, should not ever happen. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, some of the most common surgical never events include the following:

  •        Performing procedures on the wrong body part
  •        Operating on the wrong patient
  •        Carrying out the wrong procedure on a patient
  •        Unintentionally leaving a foreign object in a patient

In some cases, administering contaminated medications, or using contaminated devices or biologics, may also be considered preventable medical mistakes.

Due to surgical never events, you may face a range of issues, which you would not have faced otherwise. This may include suffering permanent damage to your internal organs, contracting infections, and numerous other serious injuries. These ailments may cause you to develop a worsened medical condition and, in some cases, may be fatal. As a result of these types of medical errors, you may require additional medical treatment, or even another surgical procedure.

There are a number of factors, which commonly contribute to causing surgical never events. Distraction, fatigue and poor communication frequently factor into such mistakes. Additionally, the time of day when your procedure is performed may play a part in these types of surgical errors. Surgeons and other health care professionals have a responsibility to remain focused during operations, and to follow all applicable safety protocols and regulations.

This post has provided an overview of surgical never events, their effects and their causes. It is important for you to keep in mind, however, that each case is unique. Therefore, this post should be considered as general information, and not legal advice.

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