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Posted on 8th July 2016

Never Events

“Never events” are serious mistakes that happen in hospital, usually in surgery, that are totally preventable and should never happen.

The Press Associate carried out an investigate that revealed these mistakes had happened to 1,100 people since 2012, and include more than 400 people who have had the wrong part of their body operated on – known as wrong site surgery.

Another common “never event” is when objects such as needles, scalpel blades, drill guides and swabs are left inside a patient following their surgery. This happened to 420 people in the past 4 years.

The investigation revealed the following serious mistakes:

  • A women had her fallopian tubes removed instead of her appendix
  • During a blood transfusion diabetic patients were not given insulin or were given the wrong blood type
  • Feeding tubes meant for the stomach were inserted into a patient’s lung – this could be fatal
  • Wrong site operations on hips, legs and knees
  • One woman had her kidney removed instead of her ovary

An NHS England spokeswoman has said: "One never event is too many and we mustn't underestimate the effect on the patients concerned. However, there are 4.6 million hospital admissions that lead to surgical care each year and, despite stringent measures put in place, on rare occasions these incidents do occur.”

NHS England have released data that shows there were 338 “never events” from April 2013 to March 2014, 306 from April 2014 to March 2015 and 254 events from April 2015 to December 2015.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, told Sky News: "It is a disgrace that such supposed 'never' incidents are still so prevalent. With all the systems and procedures that are in place within the NHS, how are such basic, avoidable mistakes still happening?

“There is clearly a lack of learning in the NHS. These 1,100 patients have been very badly let down by utter carelessness.

"It is especially unforgivable to operate on the wrong organ, and many such mistakes can never be rectified."

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered an injury as a result of medical or clinical negligence then call our friendly team on 0330 355 9210* where they will take some details and pass them to a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors.