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What issues are considered to be never events in healthcare?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

In North Carolina, too many incidents of medical malpractice occur nearly every day. Many of these situations involve what is known as “never events.” If you have suffered injuries as a result of any of these scenarios, you will want to have all the information possible when you file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What is considered never events?

“Never events” are medical errors that are preventable. Many of these mistakes occur during surgical procedures and are generally easy to avoid by the average doctor or healthcare professional. Negligence is often a big factor that leads to medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, in spite of these situations being preventable, there are seven categories that makeup never events. They include the following:

• Surgery on the wrong patient or on the wrong part of the body. This category also involves objects being left inside the patient and death to an otherwise healthy patient after a routine procedure.
• Medical devices causing problems due to not being sterile, being used improperly or causing air bubbles to form in the patient’s artery or vein.
• Care management problems such as giving the wrong medication to a patient, causing an overdose, unsafely administering blood products, losing specimens when they’re necessary for making decisions on treatment, not following up on test results, and issues such as using the wrong donor sperm or egg in artificial insemination.
• Radiology issues such as serious injuries or death involving metallic objects in MRI areas.
• Prematurely discharging a patient who is unable to make their own sound healthcare decisions, injuries or death to patients who disappear or suicide or suicide attempts in a facility.
• Environmental factors leading to serious injuries or death such as burns, restraints, or electric shock in a facility.
• Criminal activities in a healthcare facility such as someone impersonating a doctor or other healthcare professional or assault or abduction of a patient.

What should hospitals and staff do when never events occur?

A hospital survey asked healthcare professionals what they do to handle never events. Even if medical malpractice cases are brought forth, the following is expected from hospitals and other facilities:

• An apology to the patient and their family.
• All costs should be waived on the event that led to the never event.
• Report the incident to an outside agency.
• Thoroughly investigate and analyze why and how the never event happened.
• Interview the patient and family members who can help give information to determine how the event occurred.
• Tell the patient and their family what actions will be taken to prevent never events from happening in the future.
• Have protocols to help caregivers involved in such events and inform them and other staff of the protocols.
• Perform annual reviews and comply with these policies.
• Provide a copy of the policies to patients when they request them.

It’s important to figure back if you’ve been injured because of a never event. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help you to do that.