August 26, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Surgical errors: Never events occurring every week
When you enter a hospital or surgical center in Anchorage County to undergo a procedure, you are putting your life in the hands of that surgical team. With an abundance of technology now available to medical professionals, it is difficult to believe that mistakes could be made, but this is often the case. One type of surgical error
that is prevalent across the nation is the never event.
What is a never event?
According to Medical News Today, never events are surgical errors that simply should not occur. For example, surgeons should never make the mistake of operating on the wrong side of the body. Technology provides surgeons with the location of where the operation should be performed and there are often procedures that involve a review of the surgical procedure before the operation commences. Yet in spite of these precautions, this error is relatively common.
One of the most prevalent never events that happens is "retained surgical items" which refers to a surgeon or surgical staff leaving surgical equipment and sponges inside the patient when the operation is completed.
The effect of a never event on a patient
As one may expect, being the victim of a never event can create new health issues for the patient. Sponges are especially dangerous because they can remain undetected for months or even years. In this period of time, the sponge can become attached to tissue, causing significant repercussions. Known problems with never events include:
-Additional hospitalization and surgeries
-Physical and emotional scarring for patients
-Removal of damaged tissues or organs
-Lifelong reliance on medication to keep systems working properly
-Physical permanent pain
In addition, often the victim is left with enormous medical bills which are never ending because of the need for additional medical care and prescription drugs. For some victims, they are no longer able to work, enjoy the lifestyle they once had and may struggle with depression and anxiety.
A serious concern
The New York Times reports that at least 4,000 cases involving never events are acknowledged each year. However, those numbers may be greater since hospitals have been known to underreport these errors. Since most hospitals do not have any type of error proof system in place to prevent medical malpractice from happening, hundreds of patients will likely find themselves dealing with a never event.
What seems most shocking is that there is technology that hospitals and surgical centers can use to detect the presence of sponges before the operation is completed. Small chips are embedded in the sponges and before the patient's skin is stitched up, a surgical team member can use a detector which sends a signal if a sponge is still inside. This kind of method has proven effective for the hospitals which use it; a study done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that over an 11 month period, 23 sponges were located before the operation was closed. The added technology costs hospitals about $10 more per surgery and yet less than 600 hospitals in the U.S. employ the technology. If you are the victim of a surgical error or medical mistake, you should talk to a qualified attorney in your area about your options.
Article provided by Law Office of Gregory J. Grebe
Visit us at www.grebelaw.com/