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What are “never” events in medicine?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

In the medical industry, doctors and nurses will sometimes refer to “never events.” Even if you don’t work in this industry, you may have seen them referenced in medical journals or news reports.

The name really tells you a lot about what these are, as they are events that should theoretically never occur in a medical setting. They’re shocking. They’re avoidable. They’re serious. It’s not just that there was a negative outcome due to an unexpected result. The event itself should never have taken place to start with, and there has been a major failure at some level that allowed it to occur. 

What’s an example?

For instance, wrong-site surgery, such as an amputation, is an example of a never event. There should never be a scenario in which a surgeon amputates the wrong leg, but this exact scenario has occurred. So have situations where the wrong patient has been operated on for a condition they didn’t have.

Where the failure has taken place depends on the situation. It could be as simple as the surgical team marking the wrong leg and the surgeon failing to confirm that he or she is working in the right location. But it could also be that the entire surgical team was given the medical records for the wrong patient. This paperwork error means that they performed the correct surgery, but they were working on the wrong person, so that procedure was not necessary and never should have taken place.

What can you do?

Despite the fact that these events should never occur, they continue to happen in the United States. They can have serious ramifications for the rest of your life. Make sure that you know about your options to seek compensation if you believe medical malpractice has occurred.