Never events and their impact

| Dec 4, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

If you underwent surgery at a hospital in West Virginia but were injured because of a medical error, then know that you’re not alone. Any number of things can go wrong before and during surgery. Records may get mixed up so that patients have the wrong side or the wrong site operated on, and surgeons may mistakenly leave a sponge or tool inside the body.

The definition of never events

Sadly, many of the surgical errors, and medical mistakes in general, that occur each year could have been prevented. In 2001, the National Quality Forum (NQF) created the term “never event” to describe those errors that are not only clearly identifiable and preventable but also highly injurious to patients. These are the events that seriously put a medical center’s competence into question.

So far, the NQF has labeled 29 events as never events. These fall into seven categories, of which surgery is one. The other six categories are:

  • Medical products and devices
  • Care management
  • Patient protection
  • Radiology
  • The environment
  • Criminal activity

One example of the last category would be an event where a patient receives medical care from someone impersonating a doctor. Environmentally related cases would involve, for example, burns, electrocution and exposure to toxic chemicals.

Some causes of surgical never events

Never events in surgery can arise from a surgeon’s mistake, such as performing the wrong procedure, an act of omission, a planning error, et cetera. Miscommunication between team members, some flaws in the infrastructure and equipment failure can also contribute.

A lawyer to help you seek damages

Under medical malpractice law, you may be eligible for compensatory damages if you were clearly the victim of negligence. You may be dealing with a permanent disability and a diminished capacity to earn a living. A malpractice claim, if successful, could cover these and other losses. Consider having a lawyer evaluate your case.