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Help! I was told a “never event” occurred during my surgery

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2016 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice

Certain ailments and illnesses require a surgical procedure to fix the issue and even save your life. When you went under anesthesia, you expected to come out of it with the assurance that your prognosis was good, and, after you recover, you would have a new lease on life 

Instead, when you woke up, doctors told you that something went wrong during your procedure, and that a “never event” occurred. You needed at least one additional surgical procedure, and you ended up with permanent and debilitating injuries that will affect how you live your life forever.

What is a never event?

Never events are errors made during surgery that should never happen. If doctors told you that this happened to you, one of the following three events occurred:

1. Wrong-site surgery: The surgeon operated on the wrong body part. In some cases, no permanent injury results, but you require a second procedure to the proper side of your body. Sometimes, however, the results can be life threatening and injure you for life. For example, the surgeon removed your right kidney instead of your left.

2. Wrong-procedure surgery: The surgeon performed the wrong procedure. For example, the surgeon was supposed to remove your gall bladder, but removed another organ instead.

3. Wrong-patient surgery: You underwent a procedure meant for another patient. In this case, the other patient might have a similar name.

How did this happen to me?

Research shows that the primary reason that never events occur is due to poor communication among surgeons, their teams and other hospital personnel. When it became clear that these events were occurring, a surgical “time-out” and a “Universal Protocol” were developed in an attempt to combat the problem. This protocol requires surgeons and their teams to stop and verify critical information about the patient and the procedure prior to entering the operating room.

Even with these safeguards, a surgical error can result from a mistake made prior to this point, which makes a surgical checklist worthless. One wrong entry in a computer puts patients’ lives at risk. In the alternative, no guarantee exists that every surgeon will follow this protocol.

I suffered permanent injuries, and I will never be the same. What happens now?

You should discuss your situation with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney. Surgeons, their teams and hospitals need to be held accountable when these grossly negligent mistakes happen. These types of errors affect more than just your physical well-being. Your financial life could be at risk as well.

You might not be able to work (at least during your recovery if not longer), and you could need medical and other care for the rest of your life. Proving in court that mistakes caused your injuries could result in an award of damages that could help with your current and future needs.

Your claim could also prompt changes in procedures that will prevent other people and their families from suffering the same fate.

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