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The Dangers of 
Never Events

a hospital hallway

As patients, we trust doctors and healthcare providers with our lives. However, medical errors can happen even in the most advanced hospitals and with the most skilled professionals. While most mistakes are harmless, some rare but preventable errors can cause significant harm to patients, known as “never events.” These incidents are so serious and preventable that they should never happen.

What Are Never Events?

Never events are severe medical errors that represent serious, preventable problems – also called “sentinel events.” These are rare incidents that should never happen in a reasonable medical practice or under ordinary conditions.

According to the National Quality Forum, there are 29 types of never events, and healthcare providers are required to report these incidents. These events can cause severe harm or even death to patients, leading to lengthy hospital stays, prolonged recoveries, and emotional trauma.

Examples of Never Events

One of the most common types of never events is “wrong-site” surgeries. This type of medical error happens when the surgeon operates on the wrong side of the patient's body or the wrong part of their body. Another common never event is the retention of a surgical instrument inside the body, leaving a sponge or another foreign object inside the patient after surgery. Other examples of never events may include medication errors, falls, patient suicides, or the disappearance of a patient.

Legal Recourse for Never Events

Victims of never events may have legal recourse against healthcare providers. Medical malpractice lawsuits aim to hold healthcare providers accountable for their mistakes and compensate victims for their losses. The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, which requires proof of breach of duty on the healthcare provider's part, an injury or damage to the patient, and establishing a causal link between the breach and the damage.

Prevention and Conclusion

Preventing never events is essential to patient safety, and it requires the cooperation and commitment of healthcare providers. Hospitals and healthcare systems can take measures to prevent never events, such as:

  • Implementing strict checklists and protocols
  • Increasing supervision of patients and procedures
  • Enforcing high standards of care

Patients must also be empowered to advocate for themselves and ask questions when receiving medical care to ensure their safety.

Seeking Justice with Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP

At Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP, we understand the devastation and financial burden that never events may cause for patients. We are dedicated to helping victims and their families seek justice and compensation for medical malpractice. Our experienced attorneys have represented clients in cases of never events, and we can help you fight for the justice you deserve.

Contact us today at (800) 572-7246 to schedule a free initial consultation.