Understanding never events

When you hear stories of people suffering from medical errors, you likely assume that such errors typically equate to small judgment mistakes that (while wrong) might even be understandable when considering the complexity of the profession. Indeed, many such cases are just that.

There are, however, instances where you would think that avoiding a mistake would be easily avoidable by simply exercising due care. When you experience such an error (just as many of our past clients here at The Pagan Law Firm, P.C. have), you may justly want to hold the doctor, surgeon or healthcare professional who made it accountable.

Mistakes that should never happen

Healthcare industry experts call those incidents they believe should never occur (with the regular exercise of care) “never events.” According to the Center for Medicare Services, the exact criteria that determine a never event include:

  • Being clearly identifiable and measurable
  • Being usually preventable (understanding that some errors are often inevitable)
  • Causing death, serious injury, disability or more than the transient loss of a body function
  • Being adverse, indicative of a problem in a facility’s safety systems, important in impacting public accountability and credibility

Specific examples of never events

While that criterion may seem complex, specific examples are often easy to identify. Some include blatant surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong body part. Serious adverse effects caused by product or device defects also fall in this category, as do errors resulting from failing to protect a patient (both from themselves and others). Obviously poor care management, unsafe or unclean patient care environments and incidents due to criminal actions on the part of a caregiver also qualify as never events.

You can find more information on identifying preventable medical mistakes by continuing to explore our site.

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