Medical Researchers Study “Never Events”

Some medical errors that occur in Connecticut hospitals are referred to as ‘never events.” These medical mistakes happen when an object is left inside of a patient, the wrong implant is placed inside of a patient, the wrong procedure is performed on a patient or a procedure is performed on the wrong side of a patient’s body. Although events like these should never happen, it is estimated that they occur in about one out of every 12,000 medical procedures in the United States.

Mayo Clinic researchers attempted to study the reasons why never events occur by analyzing human behavior factors. After studying 69 non-fatal never events that took place over a period of five years at their facility in Rochester, Minnesota, researchers determined that there were 628 human factors that contributed to the events. About four to nine of these human factors were involved in each individual event. Almost two-thirds of the never events took place when minor procedures were being performed.

A gastroenterologic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic said that the findings in the study demonstrate how difficult it is to determine how to prevent these types of incidents. However, she pointed out that it is critical for medical team members to speak up when they notice a potential problem. Systems like bar code scanning for sponges and team briefings before surgeries can also be used to prevent never events.

A person who has been injured because of a surgical error may want to speak with an attorney to determine if any remedies are available. Medical malpractice lawsuits often require extensive research into a patient’s medical history and testimony from a medical expert. A lawyer may be able to help an injured patient to build a strong medical negligence claim through the use of such evidence.