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Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
(833) 997-1774

As their name implies, a never event is a medical event that is never supposed to happen. The most egregious of patient safety violations, never events are measurable and identifiable, result in serious disability or death, and are usually avoidable. They often highlight a systemic issue present in the medical facility in which they occur.

How common are never events?

Regrettably, never events happen a lot more often than most people are aware of. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a never event, it is important to understand that medical negligence is almost certainly involved. Contact the Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free review of your potential medical malpractice claim.  

Examples of Never Events

Since its inception in 2002, the National Quality Forum’s list of serious reportable events has undergone numerous revisions. At present, it consists of 29 serious reportable events classified into one of seven categories. Some examples include:  

Care Management Events

Care management never events include anything from a patient sustaining bedsores while they were hospitalized to a blood transfusion error causing a hemolytic reaction.  

Defective Product Events

The most common example of this is a healthcare professional using defective or contaminated products or using a medical device in a manner other than intended. 

Environment Events

The environment of a hospital or other medical facility in which a patient is being treated should never be the source of injury. Environmental events caused by unsafe surroundings can lead to patients being shocked, electrocuted, burned, or receiving contaminated oxygen. 

Patient Protection Events

Healthcare facilities are meant to protect patients who are under their care. Patients, particularly children, and babies, being given to the wrong parent, patients who go missing, and patients who commit or attempt suicide are all good examples of patient protection never events.  

Surgical Events

Truly the stuff of nightmares, the most notorious category of never events is surgical never events. A surgeon operating on the wrong patient, the wrong body part, amputating the wrong limb, removing the wrong organ, or leaving a surgical instrument inside of a patient are all surgical never events.  

How Often Do Never Events Happen?

In one of the first research projects of its kind, a study published by Johns Hopkins pertaining to never-event statistics found that roughly 80,000 never-events took place in hospitals all across the United States from 1990 to 2010. 

During those twenty years, researchers discovered that: 

  • Death occurred in 6% of never events 
  • Permanent injury occurred in 9% of never events  
  • Temporary injury occurred in 2% of never events  

Combined, these cases gave rise to 9,744 medical malpractice lawsuits, from which stemmed $1.3 billion in payouts. 

How Do Never Events Occur?

For something that is never supposed to happen, never events occur at an alarming rate. Each event is different and there are multiple scenarios that can be behind their occurrence, including a medical professional’s negligent actions, a lack of supervision, management, or direction, a dangerous hospital environment, and even administrative issues such as being understaffed. 

An attorney with experience handling medical malpractice suits can help you establish the party or parties responsible for your never event.

Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorneys 

Due to the preventable and devastating nature of never events, healthcare facilities are under growing pressure to eradicate them completely. Virginia medical malpractice laws make it possible for patients impacted by never events to seek financial compensation. 

Consulting with a knowledgeable Virginia medical malpractice lawyer who can explain the complexities of medical malpractice claims can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact the Virginia Beach personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 to schedule your free consultation. 

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