Saunders Law Group

Patients harmed by never events can take legal action

Patients seeking medical care expect that they will be taken care of in accordance with established standards. They don't expect that something preventable will happen at the hands of the medical staff. Unfortunately, some patients do have to deal with never events, which is the term for things that shouldn't happen since they can all be prevented.

These shocking events, such as doing surgery on the wrong patient or the wrong area of the body, can lead to serious harm. Preventing these occurrences must be a priority of every medical center. This includes providing protocols to follow, as well as training for employees.

In the surgical suite

Many never events can happen in the operating room. Performing surgery on the wrong body part, operating on the wrong patient, or using the wrong surgical technique or procedure are some examples. Leaving items in the patient is another primary issue. Having a system of checks and balances is vital. Verifying the patient name, surgery location and procedure being done before the patient is taken to the OR and again just before they are placed under anesthesia can prevent some of these errors. Keeping counts of all instruments and supplies that are used on the patient can stop some issues.

Anesthesia issues

Some patients have problems when they are under anesthesia. This can occur in the operating room or if they have to be sedated elsewhere. In these cases, proper monitoring of vital signs is one of the primary ways to prevent a never event. Anesthesiologists should also determine if a patient has any contraindications for specific medications.

Care management errors

Patient care standards must be clear. This includes everything from having a set of verifications for medication administration to ensuring that there is a suitable schedule for repositioning of patients who are unable to move on their own. Having a fall protocol, including setting criteria for labeling patients as a fall risk, is also necessary. Essentially, anything that might cause a patient harm or death must be included in the plan to keep them safe.

Patients who are harmed by never events, or any other errors, during the course of their medical care might choose to seek compensation through a malpractice claim. This help to cover the costs of treatments necessary to address the harm. It may also assist with personal care and other financial impacts.

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