Doctors make mistakes. While some errors may be understandable, there are certain errors that no doctor should ever make.
These events have been referred to as “never” events. Recent studies show that a never event may occur as many as 80 times each week.
A never event is a mistake without an excuse. According to the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, there are 29 errors defined as “never events.” They are grouped into different categories. They include:
These things should not ever occur in a healthcare setting and when they do, the doctor, or healthcare facility can be held legally liable for the consequences.
A recent study, based on data collected between 1990 and 2010, indicates around 80,000 never events have occurred in the U.S. during that time.
According to the study:
Not surprisingly, surgeons that had a history of malpractice made it more likely that one of these events would occur.
Having to undergo a medical procedure is never without a certain amount of trepidation; medical procedures are usually linked to health scares, and those are stressful enough. Modern medicine continues to advance its methods and capabilities, and our healthcare system is the better for it. We are living healthier and more active lives because of modern medical accomplishments.
The medical profession, however, is comprised of medical professionals – people who make mistakes just like everyone else. Some of the mistakes medical professionals make are more understandable than others, and some should simply never happen under any circumstances.
The term never event was first used by the National Quality Forum (NQF) in 2001 to refer to medical errors of such shocking nature that they simply should have never happened. There is no possibility for reasonable or understandable explanation. The term has been expanded over the years to encompass adverse medical events that share common traits:
Although true never-events are relatively uncommon, they are so devastating in effect that they must be treated with the utmost seriousness. Often never events are found to be indicative of a fundamental safety issue within the medical organization where they’ve occurred.
Since 1995, in fact, the Joint Commission – an independent and nationally recognized not-for-profit hospital-accrediting organization – has recommended that hospitals report sentinel events. These events are identified as an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physiological or psychological injury, or the risk thereof. The Joint Commission categorizes the NQF’s never events as sentinel events.
In the event of a sentinel event, the Joint Commission mandates that a root cause analysis (RCA) of the event be performed to cull out any contributing factors that are systemic to the healthcare facility and to highlight exactly where improvements must be made. The Leapfrog Group, which is a national nonprofit organization that attempts to drive the quality and safety of American health care, goes a step farther by recommending that healthcare organizations employ a checklist of guidelines whenever a never event occurs:
Only by following an aggressive policy such as the one laid out by Leapfrog, can healthcare institutes learn from their mistakes and curtail them. This includes the public disclosure of never events and the implementation of an ongoing, systematic, self-checking, and thorough plan to eradicate never events.
As a patient, you have the right to be involved at every level of your medical care. Talk to your doctor and medical team; ask questions; voice your concerns; and when feasible, get a second opinion if you’re not comfortable with the responses you receive. Dealing with medical procedures is stressful in the best of times; bringing a friend or family member to act as your advocate can help you get a broader picture of your medical team and of the medical procedure that they’re recommending. There are certain enquiries that should always be made before embarking on an invasive medical procedure:
These are all important questions, and if something seems wrong to you once you’ve gone over these points with your medical team, something may be wrong. Don’t undergo any medical procedure with medical professionals who can’t or won’t adequately address each of these important safety issues. It’s your right to advocate for your own safety. Don’t be intimidated: speak up!
If you or someone you care about has been victimized by a never event, you’re naturally traumatized and probably incapacitated. No one should have to go through what you’re going through.
Unfortunately, however, many medical facilities circle the wagons at the first glimmer of such an event and can make obtaining justice even more difficult. It’s not right, but it does happen.
If you’ve suffered a medical never event, you’ve been wronged by significant negligence; you deserve compensation. Your never event claim is crucial to your future and is far too important to be left to chance or to the whims of your medical provider or insurer.
Contact a skilled Charleston, South Carolina legal firm with expertise in the intricacies of never event cases like yours as soon as you can. Your legal representation will exactingly piece together the evidence and the crucial circumstances surrounding your claim in aggressive support of your rights and your future.
If this happens to you or someone you love, you should speak with us immediately. You may very well have a good case. Your cooperation will be needed in order to make your case and justify any losses that you want to claim.
Some forms of payment that you can pursue include:
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you to gather the evidence that you need to get the compensation you deserve.
At The Hartman Law Firm, LLC, we understand how you feel when you place your trust in a doctor and they make a mistake that hurts you forever. There is no excuse. Call us, we can help.
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 Charleston and South Carolina. 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
Frank offers a Free Case Evaluation and Consultation. He will visit with you at your convenience at your home or hospital bed to evaluate your matter. This is done on a case by case basis.