Medical Malpractice: Troubling Case of “Never Events”

Date: October 1, 2015
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"Never events" should never happen

A “never event” refers to a serious adverse medical event that takes place in a hospital which, as the name implies, should never happen. Never events are the stuff of nightmares. Even a cursory glance at the National Quality Forum’s list reveals why – it includes surgery performed on the wrong part of a patient’s body or on the wrong patient entirely, patient death or serious injury as a result of the wrong medication or dose being administered, and the unintended retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery.

The list advocated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which precludes payment of medical bills by Medicare for conditions they deem “hospital acquired conditions,” includes the development of serious pressure ulcers while in the hospital, the administration of incompatible blood, and a patient falling while in hospital care.

Clearly, these kinds of adverse events should not be happening in our hospitals.

Never Events Happen Too Frequently

The troubling thing, however, is that never events do occur. In fact, according to a recent article released in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, “never events are occurring with troubling frequency.

The numbers are staggering – “lapses in patient safety are a major quality problem in health care, causing more than 200,000 deaths, 2.4 billion extra hospital days, and between $17 billion and $29 billion in excess hospital costs in the United States each year.”

More troubling still is the fact that never events continue to occur, despite being nearly uniformly characterized as “unambiguous,” “preventable,” and “clearly identifiable.”

Don’t Suffer in Silence

While efforts to curb the occurrence of never events in hospitals are ongoing, The Joint Commission’s recent report makes it clear that the problem is far from resolved. Until that time, patients face the risk of experiencing serious medical errors which can lead to catastrophic injuries.

If you or a close member of your family has suffered from a “never event,” call us today on 1-844-236-4500 to schedule a free case review or use the form on this page. Our experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys can help review your case. We fight for the justice our clients deserve.

Posted in: Blog, Health Care, Medical Errors, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Wrongful Death

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