If you’re going to have surgery or know someone else who is seeking medical treatment, one thing to learn about before you go is the risk of never events. Never events are serious adverse events that happen due to human error. For example, prescription errors, wrong-site surgeries or leaving tools in a patient’s body could all constitute never events, because these events should never happen if the correct protocols are followed.
Never events come in many forms. One of the most common, wrong-site surgeries, happens when the surgeon performs a surgery on the wrong part of the body. For example, you might have a diseased kidney that has to come out on the right side. If the surgeon removes the left kidney, then you could find yourself at risk of serious health issues.
Here are a few other kinds of never events you should know about.
- Wrong patient events
Another never event is when the wrong patient is treated. For example, you and another patient could get confused because your rooms were mixed up, and you could be given the wrong medications or have the wrong surgery performed on you as a result. Wrong patient events are extremely dangerous for both patients involved.
- Left-behind events
When a surgeon is working on a patient, they and their team have to keep count of all the items used. They have to make sure they remove 14 sponges if they inserted 14, that they take out all clamps and that the patient doesn’t have anything left inside of them that shouldn’t be there. If an item is left behind, the patient may need additional surgeries or could end up with severe, life-threatening complications.
Can you prevent never events?
For the most part, patients can’t do a lot to prevent never events while they’re under the knife. However, you can prevent mix-ups and confusion about your allergies by making sure you remind each person you speak to. Being clear about your name, checking records closely and reminding others of your allergies can help prevent at least some never events.
If you’re hurt, then you can look into making a medical malpractice claim as a result of the doctors’ negligence.