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Hospital "Never Events" Threaten Patient Safety

Despite significant attention being paid to the frequency of medical errors, including the 1999 landmark study - To Err Is Human - that concluded that 98000 people die every year from preventable medical errors, the number of medical mistakes that occur each year remains unacceptably high.

Called "never events," certain medical mistakes that should never happen still do. Never events include things such as leaving medical equipment inside a body (most commonly a sponge), operating on the wrong body part, or even operating on the wrong patient. When a "never event" occurs, it is often the result of carelessness, recklessness or other negligence on the part of hospital staff. In legal terms, medical malpractice occurs when a physician, nurse or other hospital staff fails to follow the appropriate "standard of care" in treating a patient.

Although most times surgery or other hospital stays go smoothly, when a never event harms you or a loved one, it's important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer right away. Many times you may be able to recover compensation for your harm including medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages.

According to a recent study published the journal Surgery, in the years 2004 to 2010, 33% of patients who were victims of a "never event" suffered a permanent personal injury. Preventable medical errors left 59% of patients with temporary personal injuries, while 6.6% of patients ended in a wrongful death. Even though these numbers are high – the actual numbers are likely even greater. The statistics included for the study were gathered from paid medical malpractice claims. When you add in the numbers of patients who are not aware of the medical errors or don't pursue claims the real tally is bound to increase.

For more information about medical errors or if you believe you or a loved one may have been harmed by a medical mistake, please contact the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

Categories: Never Events
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