Smiley & Smiley, LLP

When it's okay to say 'never'

We have all heard the saying, "Never say never." But the truth is there are some times when the word "never" should be used. For instance, when people are visiting the doctor, there are things that should never happen, thanks to basic and well-established practices that prevent them.

These are referred to as "never events," and as the name implies, they should never happen. They result in serious, reportable events that are largely preventable. In this post, we will take a look at what some of these never events are and what you can do if you have been the victim of one.

According to the National Quality Forum, 28 never events have been identified and defined. They include:

  • Performing surgery on the wrong site
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Performing the wrong surgery
  • Unintentionally leaving a foreign object inside a patient
  • Using the wrong egg or sperm in an artificial insemination
  • Medication errors
  • Electrocution of a patient in a hospital
  • Releasing an infant to the wrong person
  • Physical or sexual assault in a healthcare facility
  • Misusing a surgical instrument leading to a patient's death

These are just some of the events that should never happen in a hospital because there are so many ways to prevent them, and because they can have such devastating consequences for patients and their families. While there is no guarantee when it comes to medical care, patients should be able to expect that they will be treated in accordance with basic care standards. In the case of a never event, there may very well be evidence that proper protocol and regulations were not followed.

If you or a loved one has suffered damages as a result of these or other serious mistakes made by medical professionals, it can be crucial that you seek legal guidance and explore your options for filing a medical malpractice claim.

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