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4 types of surgical errors that should never happen, but do

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

There are examples of medical malpractice that are so severe and so easily preventable that they are called “never events” — mistakes that should never happen. But never events do happen in New Orleans-area hospitals, usually with devastating results for patients and their families.

Surgical errors are some of the most egregious never events. Surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and other members of surgical teams are highly trained, and hospitals have procedures to ensure that each patient gets the operation they came to the hospital for. Yet seemingly basic mistakes still happen sometimes.

Four extreme ‘never events’

Of never events committed in surgery, four of the most common are:

  • Operating on the wrong side of the body, such as removing the patient’s healthy kidney instead of the diseased one.
  • Operating on the correct side of the body but the wrong body part.
  • Performing the wrong procedure.
  • Mixing up patients and performing a procedure on Patient A meant for Patient B.

Surgical errors are relatively rare, and most mistakes in the operating room are mild and quickly corrected with little to no harm to the patient. But never events like those listed above tend to cause catastrophic harm. Imagine losing the wrong limb, organ or other body part because of a reckless mistake. Patients who survive such a profound error could be disabled for life — if they survive. They might have to stop working, leaving their family without a vital source of income. They could need expensive modifications to their home, such as a wheelchair ramp and adjusted bathroom fixtures. Meanwhile, their independence and ability to enjoy life could be permanently affected.

Compensation from the hospital and medical professional responsible cannot undo what happened, but it can relieve you and your loved ones of the financial burden. A conversation with a medical malpractice attorney can help clarify your rights and legal options.