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How can hospitals avoid 'never events?'

One of the most common surgical errors is known as a 'never event.' A never event is a surgical event that never should have happened under the correct circumstances. For example, a surgeon should never leave a sponge inside a patient. Similarly, a surgeon should never operate on the wrong body part.

There are steps that hospitals and clinics can take to avoid never events. For instance, providers can keep digital records that are easily accessible by all people who work with the patient. They can also make sure that each person who comes into contact with the patient verifies the patient's name and birthdate. Even further, doctors can make sure that they don't skip out on explaining an operation or treatment to a patient, so the patient knows what to expect and can say if something doesn't seem right.

In a surgical setting, it is important for the staff to be on the same page. It is always important to have a meeting before and after a surgery, and each person should take the time to verify that they understand their role in the surgical procedure. Following the surgery, it's important to recap.

Another thing that should happen is a count of all of the supplies used during the surgery. If there are multiple people keeping count, or if the sponges have digital codes for tracking, then it is much harder to make a mistake.

Simple steps like these can save lives and prevent complications. Good communication is the key to avoiding surgical errors in any patient's case.

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