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What are never events?

Given that Kentucky doctors, surgeons and many other medical professionals attend years of schooling and training before ever providing hands-on patient care, you may assume that they commit relatively few medical mistakes. The truth of the matter is, however, that doctors everywhere commit serious and even fatal mistakes every year. In fact, the medical industry calls completely preventable medical errors “never events” because there is no reason that they should ever happen.

Medscape discusses never event incident rates, and explains that completely preventable mistakes are especially prevalent among surgeons. Each week, surgeons are estimated to leave foreign objects inside of patients after surgery 39 times. They operate on patients’ wrong body parts 20 times per week, and perform incorrect procedures 20 times every week as well. In total, well over 4,000 never events occur across the country annually.

The fact that never events occur at all is concerning, but many medical malpractice experts and patient rights advocates are also troubled by evidence suggesting that incidents continue to occur despite the fact that medical facilities across the country have implemented safety protocols. It is now common practice for surgical sites to be visibly marked before patients go into the operating room, and surgical equipment and devices are listed and counted prior to and following surgery. Other disturbing findings suggest that approximately 10 percent of surgeons involved in never event complaints have been accused of similar mistakes in the past, and 60 percent of those linked to never events are identified in at least one other malpractice case.