What is a "Never Event" in Medical Malpractice?

By Osborne & Francis
October 25, 2023

Some errors that are made by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are so serious that they are considered “never events.” When these types of mistakes are made, it is likely that you have a potential case of medical malpractice.

What is a Never Event?

Basically, a never event is a mistake that is so extreme, it is inexcusable. These are errors that should never occur, under any conditions, so they have been labeled “never events.” The following is a list of mistakes that are defined as never events:

Surgical mistakes – Errors occurring during surgery that is considered never events include performing surgery on the wrong patient or wrong body part or leaving an item inside a patient’s body (for example, a surgical sponge, medical instrument, or medical device).

Product or device mistakes – Never events involving products or devices include the misuse of a device or the use of a contaminated device or drug that results in the death of the patient.

Environmental events – These never events include oxygen lines containing the wrong gas or no gas at all, electrical shock, burn injuries, and the use of restraints that result in serious injury or death.

Radiological events – When a metal object is introduced into the MRI area and the mistake causes serious injury or death, it is considered a never event.

Patient protection mistakes – When a patient who is unable to care for himself is discharged to someone who is not an authorized person, or the patient disappears from the medical facility, and there is a subsequent injury, disability, or death, it may be considered a never event. Additionally, if a patient commits suicide or attempts to commit suicide while being cared for in a medical facility, it may be considered a never event.

Medical care management events – Never events in this category are numerous. They may include medication errors or the unsafe administration of blood products that result in serious injury or death, harm to mother or baby during childbirth in a pregnancy designated low-risk, the loss of a biological specimen, artificial insemination with the wrong donor egg or sperm, or the serious injury or death of a patient due to a failure to provide adequate follow-up care. Other care management never events may include if a patient develops stage three or four pressure ulcers (bed sores), or if a patient suffers a serious fall while in a medical facility.

Criminal acts – If medical care is provided by someone who is impersonating a medical professional, if there is an abduction of a patient, or there is a sexual or physical abuse of a patient by a medical care provider in a medical facility, it is considered a never event.

The above are all situations and events that should never happen in a healthcare facility or setting. If they do, then the medical professional or entity can be held legally responsible for the event.

Find Help for Your “Never Event”

If you or a loved one has been a victim of one of the egregious mistakes mentioned above, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. You are likely entitled to compensation for the injuries and damages you have sustained. Let medical malpractice attorney, Joe Osborne Law Firm help you get the compensation you deserve.

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