What You Need To Know About Medical Never Events: Types, Statistics, and Causes September 13, 2023.
What Are Never Events?
Never events are errors in a healthcare setting that are clearly identifiable and entirely preventable. When a never event occurs it shows that there is a large problem regarding patient care and safety. Unfortunately, never events happen more often than people would realize and negligence is the reason why they occur.
There are 7 categories of never events in healthcare, these include:
- Surgical Events
- Defective Product Events
- Patient Protection Events
- Care Management Events
- Environment Events
- Radiological Events
- Criminal Events
Types of Never Events
Surgical events are the most common, and well-known type of never event. This could include removing the wrong limb or organ, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving a surgical tool/ object inside the patient. According to the National Center For Biotechnology Information, it is estimated that out of 28 million operations performed nationwide each year, there are 1,500 instances of surgical instruments being left inside the patient.
Defective Product Events
If contaminated drugs or devices are being used during a procedure, these would be considered defective product events. Also, if a product is being used incorrectly during a procedure, that would also fall into this category.
Patient Protection Events
Patient protection events occur when someone who is unable to make their own decisions is released to an unauthorized person. Other instances of patient protection events include the patient attempting suicide or disappearing from a healthcare facility for an extended period of time.
Care Management Events
Care management events are associated with a medication error. Examples include wrong medication, wrong dose, or wrong patient. Another example of a care management event would be a healthcare professional failing to communicate lab results with the patient. An injury during labor or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy would also fall under the care management category.
Environmental events occur in an unsafe healthcare setting. Examples of unsafe environments include a patient becoming disabled from an electric shock, contaminated oxygen given to a patient, or the patient being burned while in a healthcare facility.
Radiological events occur when death or injury result from a metal object being in the MRI area while the scan is being performed. This is a safety hazard because metal interferes with the MRI’s magnetic field.
Criminal events can include someone impersonating a healthcare professional, a patient being abducted by a healthcare professional, or abusing a patient while at a healthcare facility.
How Common Are Never Events?
Even though never events are preventable and identifiable, they happen more often than many people would think. The true number of never events is unknown, because many healthcare facilities don’t report all never events that occur inside their facility. Never events should be subject to mandatory reporting, but many states do not have that law in place.
Here are some startling statistics about never events:
- Over 12 years, 71% of events reported to the Joint Commission were fatal
- A study in 2013 showed that 4,000 never events occurred each year in the United States
- Wrong-site surgery occurs around 40 times per week in the United States.
Contact Our Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Our experienced attorneys have won millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for medical malpractice and medical negligence cases. If you or someone you know is a victim of a never event in a healthcare facility contact our Cleveland-based medical malpractice attorneys, Chris and Calder Mellino, at (440) 333-3800 or fill out our online form.