Medical Malpractice: What is a ‘Never Event’?

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 12:00pm by

Have you ever experienced an extreme complication during a surgical procedure? Was your loved one killed because of severe negligence on the part of a healthcare provider? Photo of an operating room

You should be aware that surgical errors, a form of medical malpractice, could lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering, as well as the loss of enjoyment of life. Shockingly, a recent Johns Hopkins University study found that about 4,000 “never events” occur during surgeries in the U.S. each year.

“Never events” are described as occurrences for which there is a universal professional agreement that they should never happen during a surgery. This can include events where items are left in patients, arteries are severed or the wrong organ or limb is removed from a person.

Sadly, according to the Johns Hopkins study, each week, a surgeon in the U.S. leaves a foreign object inside a patient’s body after an operation about 39 times, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times and operates on the wrong body site 20 times.

NJ Woman Claims Dentures Dislodged in Throat During Surgery

We bring up “never events” because recently a Kearny woman filed a lawsuit against the Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus after she claims her dentures were lodged in her esophagus during a 2013 surgical procedure.

According to, the woman’s lawsuit claims that she needed a tracheostomy to remove her lower partial dentures that were stuck in her esophagus. She said the dentures were stuck in her throat for more than three months following the surgery. She claims that during the procedure, her upper dentures were removed but not the lower pair.

The website reports that after the woman was discharged from the hospital, she received a letter from the provider saying that it had lost her dentures, offering her reimbursement. It was not until she began to experience throat pain and trouble with chewing that she knew that the dentures were lodged in her throat. The woman is seeking unspecified damages for medical malpractice.

Working with an Attorney Following a Surgical Error

If the negligence of a doctor has affected you, speaking to an attorney may be in your best interest. Remember, you can hold a healthcare provider liable if it harms you in a “never event”.

By working with an attorney following a surgical error, not only can you seek damages, you can also hold the provider accountable for its actions in a hope that it will not commit the same errors on patients in the future. For more information about medical malpractice, visit our verdicts and settlements page.

Donald G. Targan & Associates – Atlantic City Injury Attorneys

Targan Talk: According to USA Today, less than 15 percent of U.S. hospitals use sponges equipped with electronic tracking devices.


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