What Are Never Events?

Posted on October 30, 2017 at 12:00pm by
Medical mistakes are responsible for thousands of deaths in the US

Medical errors are considered one of the leading causes of death in the US. Depending on who you ask, these errors kill an estimated 250,000 to 440,000 patients in US hospitals each year. Some medical errors are worse than others. A “never event” is a term that refers to a specific type of medical mistake that should never occur and that may have serious consequences for patients.

Never events may refer to a medication errors, surgical mistakes or errors that occur while health care practitioners are caring for patients. The National Quality Forum (NQF) has a list of never events that it maintains. Never events on the list include:

  • Wrong-site surgeries: This type of error may occur when a surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body. For example, a surgeon may remove the wrong body part.
  • Wrong-patient surgeries: This is where a surgeon performs a procedure on the incorrect patient. For example, a surgeon may confuse two patients with similar names.
  • Wrong-procedure surgeries: With this type of error, a surgeon may perform the wrong type of procedure.
  • Retained surgical items: Surgeons may leave equipment inside of patients. Common retained surgical items may include sponges or even scissors.
  • Mismatched blood transfusions: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) lists mismatched blood transfusions as a type of never event.
  • Patient care mistakes: Never events may also include mistakes made during patient care. According to CMS, providing patients with the incorrect medication or dosage may qualify as a never event. Patients who develop stage 3 or 4 ulcers after admission may be the victims of never events.

Are Never Events Medical Malpractice?

Preventable medical mistakes may be considered medical malpractice. If you or a loved one were harmed by a mistake that you believe could have been prevented, then you should speed with a medical malpractice lawyer.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to hold the hospital or other parties accountable for damages. The Atlantic City medical malpractice lawyers at Donald G. Targan & Associates can investigate your situation at no cost.

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