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Medical Malpractice Never Events

With a name like “never events,” it would seem these medical events are nonexistent, or at least rare. Unfortunately, adverse and preventable medical events are becoming more and more common. The National Quality Forum has identified 28 medical events that should never happen. These are errors that are inexcusable and completely avoidable. Rather than minor errors, most of these never events are egregious and result in permanent injury or death.

The term “never event” started popping up around the year 2001 when Dr. Ken Kizer of the National Quality Forum used it to describe shocking medical mistakes. All certified hospitals and medical care facilities are required to report adverse events to The Joint Commission. The Joint Commission then released a report detailing the most common types of never events that were reported. As of 2009, wrong-site surgery was the most common never event.

Wrong-site surgery is an event involving the correct operation on the wrong body part. For example, a surgeon operating on a healthy knee while leaving the one affected by the ACL injury untouched. Wrong-site surgery accounted for just over 13 percent of all adverse medical events (including non-never events).

Patient suicide was the second most common never event reported. When a patient is admitted to a hospital, that healthcare facility is responsible for the care of that patient. The patient should be adequately monitored as well as protected from harm. When a patient commits suicide or attempts to commit suicide while under hospital care, the hospital could be held responsible.

What are some other types of never events? The National Quality Forum lists multiple surgical errors on its list, including surgery on the wrong patient and retention of a foreign object after surgery. There are also criminal acts against patients included on this list, such as sexual assault on a patient and battery on a patient. All of these never events are completely avoidable, which means that when they occur, the patient or the patient’s family members can bring a claim against the responsible parties.

Who is the responsible party when it comes to medical malpractice never events? Typically, victims can hold individual doctors, nurses, etc. liable in addition to the actual healthcare facility. There is much case-by-case difference when identifying the defendant in a medical malpractice case.

How do you prove medical malpractice? In cases such as this, your Las Vegas personal injury attorney will have to establish the following:

  1. There was an established duty of care between doctor and patient
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care
  3. That breach of duty to care resulted in the patient’s injury/demise

If you or a loved one was harmed by a never event or some other type of malpractice, we encourage you to get in touch with us today. Our team of Nevada injury lawyers at Shook & Stone are here to help and fight for the rights of accident victims.


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