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Never events happen more often than you think

After surgery, you might expect to feel poorly for a while. After all, your body has gone through a trauma, and it may take a few days or longer before you begin to feel like yourself again. The point of the surgery is usually to fix something that is wrong, so your recovery should bring a positive change and a renewal of your health.

However, a growing number of people emerge from surgery in worse condition than when they entered the operating room. This is not because of their illness or condition. It is the result of an inexcusable medical mistake. If you are the victim of such a mistake, you may be suffering greatly as a result.

How hospitals respond to never events

Medical professionals have a name for errors that are so atrocious, there is a zero tolerance for them. These mistakes are known as never events because they should never happen. Examples of never events include:

  • Leaving surgical instruments inside you after an operation
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Prescribing you the wrong medication or giving you the wrong dose
  • Allowing unsanitary conditions to breed infections

Notwithstanding their name, never events result in thousands of injuries and deaths each year, and medical watchdog groups have called for strict protocol when dealing with such medical mistakes. In fact, hospitals nationwide have adopted a five-step standard for dealing with never events:

  • Apologizing to you and your loved ones
  • Reporting the event to the appropriate agency
  • Performing an investigation into the ultimate cause of the mistake
  • Relinquishing any of your costs related to the error
  • Publishing these policies for complete transparency

Hospitals that follow these standards seem to establish methods for preventing such events in the future. Unfortunately, about 20 percent of hospitals across the country still do not conform to the standards in place for managing never events. In seven states, fewer than 60 percent of hospitals meet those standards.

Your options following a medical mistake

You deserve to know which doctors and medical facilities provide the highest quality care in South Carolina. Having this information will allow you to make informed choices about where to seek health care. Hospitals that fail to comply with the most basic procedures for dealing with catastrophic mistakes may place their patients at greater risk.

While medical errors that qualify as never events are rare (based on available statistics), if you are the victim of such a blunder, you may suffer irreversible or even deadly consequences. These consequences may mean you must undergo further medical procedures or require lifelong care. In such situations, you have every right to contact an attorney for help in taking your case to civil court to seek possible compensation.

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