According to a study released late last year by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, approximately four thousand surgical “never events” occur annually in the United States. The study defines “never events” as those incidents for which there is universal professional agreement that should never occur during a surgery. The study, run by associate professor of surgery Dr. Marty Makary, attempts to quantify the extent of medical malpractice that occurs on a weekly basis across America.
According to the study’s estimations, a foreign object is left inside a patient during an operation thirty-nine times every week, an incorrect procedure is performed twenty times every week, and the wrong body part is operated on twenty times every week. The study also approximates that a staggering 80,000 never events have taken place in hospitals from 1990 to 2010, however, the actual quantity of such occurrences is likely higher.
Using the National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”), a federal database comprised of medical malpractice claims, the study analyzed nearly 10,000 medical malpractice judgments that were paid out between 1990 and 2010. With this data, the study was able to estimate that never events happen in the United States at a rate of 4,044 per year. The NPDB data compiled by researchers revealed that malpractice judgments and claims totaled $1.3 billion during the period covered by the study. In the cases studied, death occurred in 6.6% of patients, permanent injury in 32.9%, and temporary injury in 59.2%.
When asked about the results of the study, Makary recognized that, although some errors in the administration of health care are inevitable, “[T]he events we’ve estimated are totally preventable. This study highlights that we are nowhere near where we should be and there’s a lot of work to be done.”
As this blog has discussed before, physicians, hospitals, and other medical professionals owe their patients a duty to act with a certain level of care. Never events are the type of error that occurs when these medical professionals fail to satisfy their duty of care, and may render them liable for any injury or death that result from such negligence.
Common ways in which medical professionals error in providing medical care include:
Failing to diagnose, delaying diagnosis, or improperly diagnosing disease or injury.
Prescribing the wrong type or dose of medication.
Improperly administering anesthesia during surgery.
Birth injury caused by improper medical decisions or monitoring.
Florida law has established the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim as only two years, making it imperative that the victim of medical malpractice consult an attorney immediately to ensure that his or her right to compensation is preserved.
The Florida med mal attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured as the result of the negligence of a medical professional. If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence a medical professional, contact the attorneys of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today.