Some medical errors are so egregious and terrifying that essentially the entire healthcare system wants to prevent them. These go by the name of “never events”.
Operating on the wrong side, in the wrong place or on the wrong patient are three of the worst surgical errors that could happen. These go beyond a standard variation in surgical outcome and could very well constitute grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
How could a wrong-site surgery happen?
With all of the controls and all the knowledge in a contemporary hospital, it defies belief that a wrong-site surgery could occur. Unfortunately, the error often comes down to communication issues as a prominent root cause.
Is not just one person who is responsible for these types of events. Surgeons, nurses, recordkeepers and ultimately the entire team needs to be vigilant, patient and thorough when performing procedures that could change someone’s life forever.
Who pays for these mistakes?
Obviously, the patient is the person who pays the most when hospitals make these types of mistakes. The results can be devastating, especially in cases where the wrong patients get operations.
Although it might be difficult to believe, the federal government once reimbursed hospitals for various costs associated with wrong-site, wrong-patient surgeries. Currently, hospitals and their insurance companies tend to be responsible for all costs. Depending on the extent of a patient’s loss, this new atmosphere often leads to an even more vigorous defense than before.
These large, powerful companies typically do everything in their power to mitigate their losses and diminish the cases against them. This happens at the expense of those who received lifelong scars, both psychological and physical, from these never events.