What is a “Never Event”?

We all know that doctors and medical professionals are human and make mistakes. However, there are some mistakes that should never be made by any physician. These errors are called "never events".

Upon first look, one might guess a never event is an event that should never happen. The term ‘never event’ was coined in 2001 by the former CEO of the National Quality Forum, Ken Kizer, to categorize inexcusable medical malpractice mistakes. In 2011, the term was redefined to include 29 unique events. Some of the most common include:

  • Surgical events - surgery performed on the wrong site/person; leaving a foreign object in a patient post-procedure.
  • Product or device events - patient death or injury associated with the use of contaminated products or devices.
  • Patient protection events - patient suicide or self-harm while being treated in a health care facility; discharge of a patient who is unable to make a decision.
  • Care management events - patient death or injury associated with a medication error (e.g. improper dose); death or injury associated with unsafe administration of blood products.
  • Environmental events - patient or staff death associated with improper use of electrical shock, oxygen/gas, or restraints.
  • Radiologic events - patient death or injury as a result of introducing a metallic object in an MRI area.
  • Criminal events - any instance of care provided by someone impersonating a physician, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or any other licensed health provider.

These mistakes are extremely devastating or even fatal to patients or loved ones. In fact, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 71% of never event injuries have been fatal. Regrettably, never events are far more common than most people know. Despite patient safety efforts and risk-management policies that are purposely implemented to prevent these disasters from happening, never events still occur at a shocking rate.

In one study led by the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, it was estimated that surgeons leave a foreign object inside a patient's body 39 times a week. In another study led by the National Practitioner Data Bank, researchers estimated that more than 4,000 never events occur in the United States every year.

Finding an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Never events are often disastrous, and can have long-lasting effects on its victims. Though some hospitals and health care organizations are implementing mandates to increase accountability and correct wrongful acts by publicly reporting never events, the root cause of your damages and pains may have been unanswered.

Our firm understands that while monetary compensation is crucial, it may not be the only thing victims seek. We understand how devastating it is to place your trust in a healthcare provider and undergo even more pain as a result. In your time of emotional distress, it is imperative that you seek a medical malpractice lawyer that will fight even harder for your rights to be heard in a court of law.

If you or someone you love were the victim of a never event, now is not the time to hesitate. A Goldblatt Singer medical malpractice attorney can fight against negligence and pursue compensation from those who are responsible for your damages. Contact us today and learn more about medical malpractice law here.