Doctors aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. While some mistakes may be understandable, there are certain errors that no physician should ever make. In 2001, Dr. Ken Kizer MD, CEO of the National Quality Forum, came up with a name for these egregious, shocking medical errors. He called them “never events.”
Sadly, never events may be far more common than most people believe. Recent estimates indicate that a never event may occur as many as 80 times each week.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a never event, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., as soon as possible. Because never events are such egregious mistakes, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm that the error has caused you. Find out more by calling us today toll-free or submitting our online form.
What is a Never Event?
A never event is a mistake so terrible that there is really no excuse for it. According to the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, there are a total of 29 mistakes defined as “never events.” They are grouped into different categories.
- Surgical errors – A surgery is performed on the wrong body part or the wrong patient, the wrong surgery is performed or an object such as a surgical sponge or medical device is left inside of a patient’s body.
- Product/device – A medical device is misused or a contaminated medical device or drug is used and causes death.
- Patient protection – The release of a patient or resident who cannot care for himself to someone other than an authorized person, the disappearance of a patient that leads to disability or death or the suicide or attempted suicide of a patient that occurs while the patient is being cared for in a healthcare facility.
- Care management – Medication errors or unsafe administration of blood products that leads to serious injury or death, including harm to a mother or baby during labor or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy, artificial insemination with the wrong sperm or donor egg, the loss of a biological specimen or harm to a patient as a result of failing to provide follow-up care. If patients acquire stage 3 or 4 pressure ulcers (bed sores), or if patients fall when in a healthcare setting, this can be considered a care management event.
- Environmental – Environmental events include electrical shock, oxygen lines containing no gas or the wrong gas, burn injuries and the use of bed restraints in a way that causes serious injury or death.
- Radiological events – Death or serious injury resulting from the introduction of a metallic object into an MRI area.
- Criminal events – Care provided by someone impersonating a healthcare provider, abduction of a patient, sexual abuse of a patient by a healthcare provider or physical assault of a patient in a healthcare setting.
These things should not ever occur in a healthcare setting and when they do, the doctor, healthcare provider or healthcare facility can be held legally liable for the consequences.
How Often Do Never Events Occur?
A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University indicated that never events are not nearly as rare as one might think. In fact, based on data that the researchers collected, around 80,000 never events have occurred in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010.
According to the study:
- The wrong procedure was performed on patients around 20 times per week
- Surgery performed on the wrong body part occurred around 20 times per week
- Something was left inside of a patient after surgery about 39 times weekly.
Patients between the ages of 40 and 49 were at the greatest risk, and often the mistakes were made by surgeons who had a track record of failure. In fact, 62 percent of surgeons were cited in more than one malpractice report.
What Do You Do If You Are the Victim of a Never-Event?
If you or a loved one is injured as a result of a never event, then you likely have a very strong case for malpractice against the healthcare provider and/or the facility at which the event occurred.
It is up to you to prove your case as well as to show the extent of your financial and other losses so that you can obtain fair compensation from the doctor/provider responsible for hurting you.
This compensation could include payment of medical costs, lost wages, any future reduction in earning potential, pain and suffering, emotional distress, wrongful death damages and any other losses suffered due to the dangerous actions of the healthcare provider.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you to gather the evidence that you need to get the compensation you deserve.
Our Illinois Lawyers Can Help You
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our medical malpractice lawyers understand how devastating it is when you place your trust in a healthcare provider and get hurt because of it. There is never an excuse for a care provider to make such a terrible mistake. When a never event happens, we fight for the rights of patients and seek to have the healthcare provider pay for the consequences of the harm that was done.
Medical malpractice cases can be complex because of the technical nature of the claims. We have the knowledge, legal skills and compassion to represent you and seek compensation on your behalf. We work with clients throughout Chicago and Illinois. Give us a call today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation about your case.
- Never Events, Patient Safety Primer, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Johns Hopkins Malpractice Study; Surgical ‘Never Events’ Occur At Least 4,000 Times Per Year, Johns Hopkins Medicine