Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Patrick A. Salvi Sides with Study, Says National Database of Surgical ‘Never Events’ Would Benefit Patients

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The managing equity partner of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. says he agrees with the findings of a new Johns Hopkins study that is considered to be the first to quantify the national rate of adverse events that should never happen during surgery.

Chicago / Illinois surgical error lawyer

Chicago medical malpractice lawyer Patrick A. Salvi

Publishing incidents of surgical ‘never events’ would not only help consumers make better decisions, it would help hospitals, surgeons and surgery teams reduce errors.

Chicago medical malpractice attorney Patrick A. Salvi today endorsed a call by Johns Hopkins patient safety researchers for the public reporting of surgical “never events,” or medical mistakes that are considered totally preventable.

According to a news release, the Johns Hopkins team said in study released in December and published in the online journal, Surgery, that an estimated 80,000 “never events” occurred in U.S. hospitals between 1990 and 2010, or 4,000 per year.

The researchers estimate that a surgeon in the U.S. leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or a towel inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week.

The researchers called for the public reporting of never events in order to give patients important information to inform their choices.

“Publishing incidents of surgical ‘never events’ would not only help consumers make better decisions, it would help hospitals, surgeons and surgery teams reduce errors,” said Salvi, a veteran Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and the managing equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., a personal injury law firm serving Chicago and cities across Illinois.

The term “never event” refers to particularly shocking medical errors that should never occur such as a wrong-site surgery.

The Johns Hopkins news release says the study headed up by Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the first attempt to quantify the national rate of “never events.”

Makary and his colleagues used the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a federal repository of medical malpractice claims, to identify malpractice judgments and out-of-court settlements related to retained-foreign-body (leaving a sponge or other object inside a patient) wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-patient surgeries.

The researchers identified 9,744 paid malpractice judgments and claims from 1990 to 2010, with payments totaling $1.3 billion.

“Documenting the magnitude of the problem, the researchers say, is an important step in developing better systems to ensure never events live up to their name,” the release says.

Salvi, who concentrates his practice on cases of medical malpractice in Illinois, said a national database of “never events” would be an achievable and significant goal.

“Surgeons and hospitals everywhere should be in favor of any measures that would reduce the number of ‘never events’ and subsequent medical negligence claims,” Salvi said. “At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we’ll continue to advocate for victims of surgical error and other forms of medical malpractice.”

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Chicago medical malpractice law firm with offices in Chicago (22 West Washington Street, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60602) and Waukegan (218 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan, IL 60085). The firm represents clients in matters involving emergency room errors, failure to diagnose, hospital negligence, physician error, birth injuries, surgical malpractice, anesthesia errors, organ puncture/perforation, post-operative and pre-operation malpractice and surgical complications. The firm’s success in medical negligence, personal injury and wrongful death cases features recoveries of more than $630 million on behalf of its clients, including more than 180 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. To learn more about Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., call (847) 249-1227 or use the firm’s online form.

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