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Defining surgical never events

To say that something should never happen may seem quite drastic (after all, human error has to be accounted for in almost any situation, right?). However, in certain areas, that should not be an unrealistic expectation. Healthcare is certainly one of them. Many of those that our team here at Miracle Pruzan & Pruzan have worked with in Seattle have failed to have that expectation met due to a medical or (worse yet) surgical mistake. If and when you suffer due to a surgical error, you might justly question how such a blunder could have even happened. 

The healthcare community asks the same question. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Quality Forum has defined shocking medical errors that not occur under any circumstances as "never events." Since first establishing this list in 2001, the number of events included in it has grown to the point of dividing them into different categories. Surgical errors make up a category all their own. 

Per the AHRQ, surgical never events include: 

  • Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong body part
  • Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong patient
  • Performing the wrong surgical procedure
  • Leaving a surgical instrument inside of a patient
  • The intraoperative or postoperative death of a Class I anesthesia patient (an otherwise healthy person)

While never events are rare, their effects can be devastating. 71 percent of those reported turn out to be fatal. What is worse is that most (if not all) are preventable by better communication and planning on the parts of surgeons, anesthesiologists and surgical teams. It is for this why a good portion of these cases result in legal action. 

You can learn more about potential surgical errors by continuing to explore our site. 

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Miracle Pruzan & Pruzan

1000 Second Avenue
Suite 1550
Seattle, WA 98104

Toll Free: 800-689-6723
Phone: 206-388-5038
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