Doctors and hospitals are required to comply with strict training, policies, procedures and guidelines. These rules are in place to protect patients and ensure that preventable errors do not occur and threaten people's lives and well-being.
However, there are situations in which doctors and hospital staff fail to comply with even the most basic and obvious standards. When this happens, patients can lose their lives as a result of a mistake that should never have happened. These failures are referred to as "never events," and as this name implies, they should simply never happen.
What are types of never events?
Never events refer to errors that are unambiguous, serious and preventable. In other words, they are events that are particularly shocking. As defined by the National Quality Forum, never events can include:
- Surgery on the wrong body part
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient
- Leaving a foreign object inside a surgical patient
- Giving patients the wrong drug or wrong dosage
- Unsafe administration of blood products
- Fatal falls in a hospital
- Introduction of a metal object during an MRI
Why do they happen?
Certain conditions may contribute to the occurrence of never events. This might include impairment of a doctor or nurse, improper training and/or certification, negligent or reckless hospital staff, poor oversight or failure to keep accurate medical records.
What can I do if my loved one dies as a result of a never event?
If your loved one is fatally injured as a result of one of these or any other egregious mistakes in the hospital, then taking legal action can be critical.
Filing a lawsuit will not undo the error or bring your loved one back, but it can hold the appropriate parties accountable and potentially prevent the same mistake from happening to someone else. It can also help you recover the financial compensation you and your family need to cope with your loss as well as the financial and emotional repercussions of the wrongful death.