How often do surgeon errors take place?

When Massachusetts’ residents hear the term ‘never event’, it would be fair to assume it is something that never happens, as the name implies. In a medical context, this term refers to events that are particularly shocking and should have never happen in the first place. Unfortunately, these events do end up happening to a startling amount of patients. In fact, one example of a never event, leaving something inside a patient during a procedure, happens in one out of every 1,000-1,500 intraabdominal surgeries.

A previous study estimated that a surgeon leaves something inside a patient post-procedure 39 times a week, performs a wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week. These are all examples of never events.

The results of these events can be dangerous, often requiring additional surgeries and medical treatment to rectify. An unfortunate 20 percent of patients who were victims of this form of medical negligence sustained a permanent injury. One in 20 of those patients died.

There are a number of safety procedures that medical personnel are supposed to follow to avoid these cases of negligence and subsequent worsening of medical condition; however, these events unfortunately still take place. And when that happens, the patient ends up suffering even more than before. It may be possible to hold the medical professional responsible for medical malpractice in these instances. This could also help with the recovery compensation that could ease the burden of future medical costs.


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