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Never events: what are they and what can you do about them

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2019 | Uncategorized

Many individuals envision doctors as having all the answers, or the ability to fix what is broken, when you go in to the hospital with a problem. Most times, this sentiment rings true, but what happens when it does not? What happens when a doctor, instead of correcting the problem, creates or enhances a problem?

Never events happen occasionally in the medical field, typically in hospitals, and when they do they are catastrophic and deadly. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 71 percent of never events that occur are fatal.

What are never events

Never events are severe medical errors that happen to a patient at the hospital which should never occur. The Department of Health and Human Services lists six categories of never events. Examples of these types of events include:

  • Surgical: Wrong body part, wrong patient, wrong procedure, left an object in the body
  • Product: Use of contaminated drugs or use of a device other than intended
  • Patient: Suicide, infant given to wrong family
  • Care: Medication error, reaction to the drugs prescribed, incompatible blood
  • Environment: electric shock, burn, fall
  • Criminal: impersonation of a doctor, sexual assault

When medical errors occur, the patient is often in grave danger, or a medical professional has produced great harm on an individual, such as leaving them with a long-term disability. In some cases, these errors can end in fatality.

What action can you take after a never event occurs?

When someone goes to the hospital for treatment, medical professionals should not create a new problem or exacerbate an existing one. In events when this does happen, the doctor and hospital should be held responsible. Finding legal representation can help you gain compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.


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