Communication is key to wrong site, procedure and patient errors

| Feb 7, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Most individuals haven’t heard of the “never events” concept until one of these unfortunate situations happens to them. This terminology refers to instances in which a medical provider performs the wrong procedure or does surgery on the wrong body part or patient.

Medical analysts refer to these situations as never events because they believe that improved preoperative communication could have eliminated these instances.

How common are never events?

A 2006 Archives of Surgery journal article captured how this phenomenon is rare. The study’s author noted that such an event only occurs once every 112,000 hospital procedures. It’s unclear if they happen with a higher frequency at outpatient facilities.

What causes never events to occur?

Study researchers were able to pinpoint some common causes of wrong site, procedure or patient errors (WSPEs). They attribute most of them to poor communication. They highlighted how medical teams run a higher risk of these events happening when they don’t perform a time=out procedure before treating or operating on a patient.

Why time-out procedures are crucial to reducing never events

Most medical professionals understand that it’s a universal protocol for them to stop and go through their safety checklist before and after conducting an invasive procedure on a patient, but few take time and do it.

Data compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) captured how WSPEs still occur, even when the medical team correctly follows the universal protocol. These situations often happen because the medical team rushes through the time out process or because nurses do something in error once the treatment or surgery is underway.

What you can do if a never event happened to you

The time out procedure is an effective approach to minimizing the chances of a WSPE occurring. However, Augusta medical teams must employ other safety measures to ensure positive patient outcomes. A medical malpractice attorney can go over how Georgia law allows you to hold anyone who exhibited negligence in the operating room liable for their actions.