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Surgical errors that shouldn't happen, happen frequently

San Diego residents go to their doctors and surgeons expecting the best care. Even though they understand the risks associated with various procedures as explained to them by the medical professional dealing with them and sign the waivers presented to them, they might not be informed about specific types of surgical errors that take place. Termed 'never events', they are 100 percent preventable surgical errors because they are surgical mistakes that should have never happened in the first place. However, more than 4,000 of them happen in surgery every year and cost the country more than 1.3 billion in medical malpractice lawsuits.

When the term was first coined, it was supposed to point to shocking surgical errors that should not have taken place. However, over time the list of never events has expanded to include events that are clearly identifiable and measurable, are serious to the extent they result in death or significant disability and are usually preventable.

The most frequently reported never events are wrong-site surgeries, medication error and patient falls. However, never events also include leaving foreign objects such as sponges in the patient's body, performing the wrong surgery on the patient or performing surgery on the wrong body site.

People get many tests done before finally undergoing a procedure, and the reason for the tests is usually to ensure no error takes place. However, these never events still take place frequently and often leave the patient worse off than they were before, requiring medical attention that would not have been necessary had the surgical mistake not taken place. A medical malpractice suit may be one way to recover compensation for the medical expenses.

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