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Was a medical "Never Event" the cause of your injury?

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Most of the time, receiving medical treatment saves your life and enhances your well-being. Going to the doctor normally results in you coming out better than before, or with the hope that your health will improve soon. Unfortunately, it can also result in you sustaining serious harm.

Sometimes this is from the normal risk that comes with the technical and unpredictable nature of health care. Other times it is the fault of the provider or facility acting negligently. These preventable errors that injure patients are Never Events.

The different types of Never Events

This list of medical mistakes started in 2002 by the National Quality Forum and has since expanded to include seven categories, shares the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

  • Care management: medication errors, falls, no follow-up of test results
  • Criminal: abuse, assault, impersonation of any licensed health care provider
  • Environmental: burns, electrical shock, restraint injuries
  • Patient protection: self-harm, improper discharge
  • Product/device: contamination, malfunctions
  • Radiologic: presence of a metallic item in an MRI area
  • Surgical/procedural: wrong surgical site, procedure or patient

Overall, instances are rare, but they still happen too frequently (thus the term "Never Event") and come with detrimental consequences for affected patients. Every single type is 100% preventable.

Steps to eliminate Never Events

Many measures have arisen to reduce and eventually eradicate avoidable medical errors. For example, Medicare does not pay for additional health care that is necessary due to a mistake. California, among other states, has strict reporting guidelines to increase accountability in hospitals and other facilities. Performing a root cause analysis is beneficial in ensuring the situation does not happen again.

In the best-case scenario, the responsible party will admit and report the error, accept fault, apologize to the patient and not require payment for the botched treatment. However, not many are willing to do this, as it harms profits and reputations. It may take a legal claim to get a just outcome.

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