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Beth Janicek
Beth Janicek
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Never Say Never: Medical Errors That Should Never Happen, But Still Do

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about a San Antonio woman whose doctors performed knee surgery on her good knee. Needless to say this unfortunate event is a very serious medical error, so much so it is a type of medical error also known as a “never event.”

The National Quality Forum endorsed a list of 28 medical errors that are characterized as being not only serious, but also largely preventable. The most recent addition to the list—which includes errors such as operating on the wrong body part—is artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or egg.

Utah recently began keeping track of the number of these “never” medical errors that occur each year. In 2007, Utah reported 57 “never events” that occurred in Utah hospitals and surgical centers—that is an average of one error every six days. As a result, 27 patients died and 28 were severely injured, losing either physical or mental function. As of now Texas does not keep track of these serious medical injuries, but Janie Garza is proof that, while rare, even “never events” can and do happen.