“Never events” and why they happen
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

“Never events” and why they happen

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2021 | Personal Injury

Serious medical errors in North Chesterfield, Virginia, are often called “never events,” or medical malpractice events that are preventable and should never happen. Since many never events go unreported, it is hard to determine the exact number, but they can still cause devastation for patients.

Types of never events

Personal injury cases involving diagnosis and surgery make up a large number of never events in malpractice claims. Diagnostic errors can occur when a doctor does not find a condition based on patient symptoms or diagnoses the wrong ailment. Wrong-site surgery involves operating on the wrong body organ or side of the body.

Other never events relate to medication and patient protection in a facility. Patient protection includes preventing suicide, attempted suicide, the discharge of patients who don’t have decision-making ability and assaults on facility grounds. Medication errors typically involve giving patients the wrong medicine or wrong dose.

Causes of never events

A common cause of never events is the amount of time spent with patients; too little time can cause an inaccurate diagnosis. The risks increase in emergency room settings where staff is often hurried as well as in situations with inexperienced staff. Emergency rooms and outpatient centers are less likely to have an established patient relationship to know patient history.

Some never events occur if the doctor fails to inform the patient of risks or performs it without consent. Lack of communication between surgeons, anesthesiologists and other staff can cause medical errors. Many adverse events also derive from administrative failure, lack of funding and lack of a system to report errors.

Medical mistakes can cause significant patient harm, but not all errors are medical malpractice. An injured patient must prove certain elements to have a valid claim, so if they think they have a case, they should seek an attorney.