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Medical malpractice: Over 4,000 "never events" occur every year

When someone in Tennessee is scheduled for surgery, anxiety is a common emotion because there are so many reports of medical errors. Researchers refer to some surgical mistakes "never events," meaning that they should never have occurred in the first place. The numbers of these mistakes are alarmingly high. More than 4,000 never events occur in surgical theaters nationwide every year, and the payouts from related medical malpractice lawsuits exceed $1.3 billion annually.

Never events include errors such as failure to remove sponges or other surgical objects before closing up incisions, performing incorrect procedures and even amputating the wrong limb. Researchers say that approximately 10,000 never events occurred over a 20 year period from 1990 through 2010. Their analysis reveals shocking details.

Every week during that two-decade timeperiod, on average, foreign objects were forgotten inside patients 39 times and incorrect procedures were performed 20 times. The wrong sites of patients' bodies were operated on 20 times a week. An executive at a health care analytic consulting firm said the frequency of these never events continue to cause alarm. However, he said it is not easy for clinicians to discuss these incidents -- which makes it difficult to bring about change.

Victims of such never events or any other medical negligence are entitled to pursue claims for financial relief -- not only for additional medical expenses resulting from the errors but also for emotional damages sustained. The navigation of medical malpractice lawsuits is typically challenging because this is a complicated field of the law. However, with the support and guidance of an experienced Tennessee medical malpractice attorney, documented claims may lead to maximum compensation.

Source: webmd.com, "Thousands of Mistakes Made in Surgery Every Year", Jennifer Warner, Accessed on Jan. 14, 2017

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