Surgical Errors as “Never” Events Continue to Happen

Surgical errors deemed “never” events by safety industry experts are characterized as such because they are preventable errors that should never occur during a surgical procedure. A common surgical error that is considered a “never” event concens retained surgical items. This refers to items and devices used during surgery that are left behind in the patient after the procedure. Common retained items include surgical sponges and surgical tools. Dr. Ella Kazarooni,interviewed by Medical News Daily, noted “Having a foreign object left behind during surgery is something we consider a ‘never event.’ It’s something that should never happen. Unfortunately in complex cases, surgical cases that involve emergencies or in very large patients, items can be left behind in the body and we want to do everything we can to prevent that.” Yet, these “never events” do happen. In surgical procedures, medical staff have to count up to 100 items or more in order to ensure nothing has been left behind. The manual counting procedure is rife with errors and leaves the surgical patient in danger of serious infection or other serious complications including further surgery.