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Never Heard of A “Never Event”?

By Grant Law Office on April 29, 2020

You may be aware that medical practitioners don’t always live up to our expectations and that they make life-threatening mistakes. When these mistakes are egregious and horrific, they are often referred to as “never events.” This type of medical malpractice event is one that “never ever should have happened” and includes such shocking errors as:

  • Surgery performed on the wrong body part
  • Surgery performed on the wrong patient
  • Leaving a foreign object inside a patient after surgery
  • Contaminated drugs and devices used in medical treatment
  • A patient committing suicide while under the care of a medical facility
  • Serious mistakes committed during the birthing process that result in injury or death in what should have been a simple birth
  • Criminal or malicious acts perpetrated by a medical provider

Shocked that this kind of event could ever happen? We are too.

Never Events: A History

The term “never event” was coined in 2001 by Ken Kizer, MD, the former C.E.O. of the National Quality Forum (a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the standards of healthcare). He coined the term to reference errors that belong in a class of their own, as they are the errors that should never, ever happen in the medical profession. Since the term was originally coined, it has been expanded to classify 29 distinct events that are broken down into seven categories and has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Never Events: Statistics

While never events don’t occur often, the frequency in which they do occur may astonish you. According to Becker’s Hospital Review:

  • Over 4,000 never events occur each year in the U.S. alone
  • 71 percent of never events reported between 1995 and 2015 resulted in the wrongful death of the patient
  • Some of the most common never events are: unintentionally leaving a foreign object inside a patient, patient falls, performing surgery on the wrong patient, wrong site, or using the incorrect procedure, and suicide

Come on, Does This Kind of Thing Really Happen?

Sadly, never events are not a joke. Some of the more famous never events in the U.S. include:

  • A man who went in to have a diseased leg amputated, only to wake up and find the surgeon had amputated the wrong leg
  • Dana Carvey, the famous comedian, needed urgent heart bypass surgery. Regrettably, the surgeon bypassed the wrong artery during the surgery.
  • A 67-year-old woman was brought to the wrong room, at which point surgeons began an open-heart procedure intended for another patient. An hour into the procedure, they noticed the mistake and reversed the surgery

You might think this could never happen to you or someone you love, but the sad truth is that it can happen to anyone.

What to do if You or a Loved One Have Become the Victim of a Never Event

If you or a loved one have suffered severe injury or death from a never event, you must contact a qualified Atlanta medical malpractice attorney right away. At the Grant Law Office, our husband and wife team has decades of experience recovering compensation for victims and families who have suffered at the hands of negligent medical providers. We have an in-depth understanding of the medical profession, and we work closely with trusted medical experts who provide critical insight and understanding into each case.

Our team has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims of never events and other forms of medical malpractice in Atlanta, so call us today at (404) 995-3955 or toll-free at (866) 249-5513 to schedule a free initial case analysis.

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Posted in: Medical Malpractice

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