For many people, the prospect of getting surgery is already terrifying enough in itself. However, this prospect is made much more sinister when factoring a 2015 study from Johns Hopkins Medicine, which suggests that surgical errors are estimated to cause more than 200 thousand deaths in the United States each year.
According to Hopkins medicine, these surgical errors are called “never” events — and are named so because they are deemed so egregious that they should “never” happen during surgery. “Never” events characterize surgical errors such as operating on the wrong organ, operating on the wrong patient, or administering a dangerous amount of anesthesia.
Because these events are, in large part, the result of a healthcare provider’s negligent actions, these events are entirely unnecessary and entirely preventable. Alarmingly, “never” events take place with “troubling frequency,” and are responsible for up to $29 billion in extra expenses within the United States each year, according to researchers at Hopkins.
What’s even more disturbing is the nation-wide lack of official regulation standards and definitions that would help some states identify key weaknesses and challenges in their healthcare facilities. While lawmakers have created and enforced penalties for facilities that fail to meet certain standards, some states do not even require their facilities to report incidents publicly where a “never” event has taken place.
According to researchers J. Matthew Austin, Ph.D., and Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., “The nonsystematic collection of data on . . . never events . . . at the national level in the United States [makes] it difficult to understand how hospitals are performing over time.”
Austin and Pronovost both conclude that to reduce the occurrence of “never” events, “we need to change the decadelong decentralized approach of ‘collect, report and improve’ to an approach that entails standardized definitions of events, greater transparency of performance, and collective learning and accountability to drive performance forward.”
Trained healthcare professionals work under a sworn oath to “do no harm” to their patients, intentional or not. Indeed, patients place a great level of trust in their healthcare provider’s hands during surgery — they are vulnerable, frightened, and often confused. When that trust is broken, it can not only be a very traumatizing experience for a patient but a very costly one as well.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of surgical error at the hands of a negligent healthcare provider, you have the right to pursue legal action. At [firm-name, we will take aggressive action in seeking justice on your behalf and obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.
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