ADMIRALTY / MARITIME LAW

What is a “never event,” and what are its implications?

| Apr 24, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |

When medical industry participants in Louisiana or elsewhere reference a “never event,” they’re spotlighting something that flatly never occurs, right?

Not exactly. They are actually referring to medical outcomes that do happen, but never should because they are so egregious.

We know that many our readers can easily conjure up some quick qualifiers for any never-event list. Health care outcomes that should never materialize include things like the retention of a sponge or surgical tool in a patient’s body following an operation. Operating on the wrong patient or body part, failing to respond to a patient’s clear distress, staff abuse of a patient, patient falls amidst inattentive surgical teams – all these things make the grade on the dubious Top-10 never-events list periodically compiled by the Joint Commission.

The JC is the nation’s chief accreditor of American hospitals, and it is clearly concerned with never events. Health regulators’ alarm over such outcomes is compounded by a most gnawing fact, namely, that never events just don’t occur absent human negligence.

Put another way: They are preventable.

Given that, their recurrence in medical facilities underscores this inconvenient reality for the health care industry: the same mistakes are made time and again. And that sad repetition persists despite clear pathways that prevent such errors when followed (e.g., routine adherence to guidelines and checklists).

Medical malpractice yields crashing downsides for legions of individuals and families across the United States each year.

Questions or concerns regarding medical treatment or a related outcome can be addressed to a proven legal team of pro-victim medical malpractice attorneys.