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Never Events Should Really Never Happen


In an ideal world, no medical malpractice should ever happen. But it does, and when it does, it can be catastrophic and traumatizing. But there is actually a category of medical malpractice that is so bad, so unacceptable, that these events are called “never events,” for the idea that there is no scenario when they should ever happen.

What Are Never Events?

As the name should tell you, never events are things that aren’t just negligent, but rather, constitute a complete dereliction of a medical provider’s duties towards the patient. Many of the accidents that constitute never events, even make the news or media outlets.

One common never event is when an object is left inside someone after a surgery, or where a physician operates on, or even amputates, the wrong limb.

A never event can also happen where babies are mixed up, causing the wrong baby to go home with the wrong parent. Never events also happen where people, most often the elderly, are discharged home, by themselves, when it is obvious they are not in any position to care for themselves.

Allowing a patient in a hospital to commit suicide, or to develop bed sores (which are more common in nursing homes), are other examples of common never events.

As you can tell, many of these never events involve a symphony of errors, not just with the doctor, but with the hospital and its staff as well.

Uncommon But Dangerous

Because they are such an absolute dereliction of duty and responsibility, never events are, thankfully, not very common, but they do happen. By some estimates, never events will only happen in a given hospital once in a matter of years, but overall, there are still about 4,000 such events every year that are related to surgeries.

Never events are much more deadly and have much worse outcomes than “standard” medical malpractice cases.

Government Crackdowns

Never events are so forbidden, that even the government will refuse to make Medicare or Medicaid payments to hospitals to help cover expenses related to never events. Many states have laws that require that hospitals report to the state, any never events that happen in their hospitals.

Obviously, there is little a hospital can do to repair the lives of those who have been affected by never events. Watchdog nonprofit groups suggest that hospitals pay all the expenses related to the medical care in a never event, and of course, apologize to the victims-apologies many hospitals fear will make them look bad in the public eye.

It is important to note that never events are the worst of the worst, and that you don’t need a never event, to have a viable claim for medical malpractice. In fact, most medical malpractice cases, thankfully, do not involve never events at all.

Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today.




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