Surgical “Never” Events Occur About 500 Times a Year

A recent article in The Washington Post reported that surgical “never” events – errors that should never occur, such as leaving an instrument inside a patient or operating on the wrong body part – resulted in paid medical malpractice claims about 500 times a year throughout the country, including Virginia. Of the patients experiencing “never” events, approximately 7% die, one-third incur a permanent injury, and 59% a temporary injury. The report goes on to note that the actual incidence of “never” events is likely higher due to the fact that the study only examined medical malpractice claims that were filed, rather than those that were settled pre-lawsuit or not filed. The physicians most likely to experience “never” events were those who had been sued in the past, as well as younger, less experienced doctors. Physicians and hospitals are using this research to identify scenarios where a “never” event is likely to occur and implementing higher standards and checklists, similar to other high risk industries, to reduce the number of occurrences of these events.

The law firm of Pierce & Thornton specializes in medical malpractice litigation throughout Virginia, including in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Suffolk, and the Eastern Shore. The firm associates on cases throughout the United States. The attorneys at Pierce & Thornton have nearly 50 years of experience in litigating all types of medical malpractice cases. They have obtained some of the largest jury verdicts and mediation settlements in Virginia over the past several years. We encourage you to contact our firm if you question the medical care rendered to you, a family member, or friend. If we can help you, we will. Your consultation is free.