Too many "never events" in the OR, study finds | On Call

December 21, 2012 by MassDevice staff

A Johns Hopkins study finds that there are 4,000 "never events" per year in U.S. operating rooms, nearly half of them involving foreign objects left behind inside of patients following a procedure.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — High-stakes surgical mistakes defines as "never events" occur more than 4,000 times per year in the U.S., according to a study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers.

About half of those incidents involve "foreign objects" left inside of patients following surgery, a quarter of cases involved surgeons who performed the wrong procedure, nearly another quarter involved procedures performed on the wrote site and a small set involved procedures performed on the wrong patient.

"Every hospital leader in the country knows 1 such incident is too many," American Hospital Assn. safety & quality vice president Nancy Foster told the Wall Street Journal. "And now the challenge is to make sure we understand which strategy we can implement that would be effective in diminishing the numbers even further."

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Such surgical mistakes, which lead study author Dr. Martin Makary called "totally preventable," cost the U.S. health system $1.3 billion between 1990 and 2010, the Journal reported.