Darien, Ill. — While no doctor intends to harm a patient, even the most skilled and well-intentioned medical professionals can make mistakes -- mistakes that should never happen. Yet there are medical mistakes so serious, so outrageous, that they are called "Never Events." Insure.com, which owns and operates a consumer information service and companion insurance brokerage service that caters to the needs of self-directed insurance shoppers, examines these cases and their resultant claims in a new report.
The surgical sponge is one of the most common objects left in patients after surgery. A 2003 study by The New England Journal of Medicine found that roughly 4,000 sponges are accidentally left inside patients annually. In at least 88% of these cases, the medical staff had falsely recorded a correct sponge count after surgery. The study, focusing on 54 patients who filed claims for a Never Events, found that 69% of the foreign objects left behind after surgery were sponges and 31% were medical instruments. Thirty-seven of those patients required corrective surgery and one died.
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