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Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorneys > Blog > Surgical Error > When Surgical Errors By Florida Physicians Constitute “Never Events”

When Surgical Errors By Florida Physicians Constitute “Never Events”


From the term itself, you can tell how so-called “never events” by Florida health care providers involve absolutely inexcusable mistakes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) definition includes any error that is clearly identifiable, preventable, and serious in how they affect the patient – usually resulting in severe injuries or death. In fact, CMS will not even reimburse for never events because they are indicative of major safety issues at the enterprise level or with individual providers.

Though any physician can commit a mistake, errors by surgeons tend to have extreme implications. In most cases, another procedure is necessary to correct the problem, which means the victim is subjected once again to the risks and potential for infection. Medical malpractice laws provide remedies in these cases, so you should discuss your options with a Tampa surgical errors attorney. Additional information about the legal process may also be helpful. 

Surgical Never Events 

Errors during a surgical procedure are given their own class among the seven total categories of never events, sometimes referred to as serious reportable events. They include:

  • Performing surgery or other invasive treatment on the wrong body part, usually a result of failures in maintaining medical records;
  • Performing an invasive procedure on the wrong patient, possibly due to inadvertent chart switching;
  • The wrong invasive procedure being performed, though on the proper body party and correct patient;
  • Unintentionally leaving a device or foreign object inside the patient after concluding a surgical procedure; and,
  • Death of a patient during surgery or immediately after a medical procedure, when that patient is classified as a Class I patient by the American Society of Anesthesiologists – i.e., a normal, non-smoking adult with no other comorbidities. 

Legal Standard for Surgical Error Claims 

Even if a mistake is classified as a never event, applying a label is not sufficient to meet the requirements of a Florida medical malpractice case. An error by a health care provider is only actionable if it represents a deviation from the standard of care that applies to that physician. Therefore, it is necessary to take a close look at what a hypothetical surgeon would have done under the same circumstances.

Surgical never events will almost always be considered a departure from the medical standard of care because no physician with the same skills, training, and education would commit them. However, there are many other surgical errors that could give rise to a medical malpractice claim, such as:

  • Slicing into an adjoining organ;
  • Cutting a nerve or blood vessel;
  • Performing unnecessary surgery; and,
  • Making an incision at the wrong site.

Speak to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyer About Surgical Errors 

An overview of the legal process is useful, but you gain an advantage when you have an experienced attorney to handle the details of a surgical error claim. Our team at Greco & Wozniak P.A. is ready to tackle the challenges, so please contact us to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. You can reach our offices in Tampa, FL by calling 813.223.7849 or visiting our website.



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