Never Events

Never events is a fairly recent term defined as “inexcusable actions” in the realm of healthcare. Never events are also described as totally preventable human error resulting in gross negligence. Never events that are most commonly thought of and that often result in lawsuits are:

  • Objects left in the body during surgery (sponges, instruments, gloves, etc.)
  • Wrong body part or wrong side issues
  • Wrong patient operated on

There are also many other types of never events that are equally inexcusable and preventable in healthcare settings which include:

  • Intraoperative or immediate postoperative death of an otherwise healthy, normal patient
  • Air embolism resulting in death or serious injury
  • Abduction of ANY age patient from a healthcare setting
  • Bedrail or restraints resulting in death or serious injury
  • Burns
  • Newborn sent home with the wrong parents
  • Contaminated drugs, devices, biologics that result in death or serious injury
  • Death of a healthy woman during childbirth
  • Electrocution or shocks resulting in death or serious injury
  • Falls resulting in death
  • Hypoglycemia caused death or serious injury
  • Kernicterus/ newborn jaundice not identified that results in serious injury or death
  • Malfunctioning medical devices resulting in death or serious injury
  • Medication errors
  • Patient disappearance of 4+ hours resulting in death or serious injury
  • Patient serious or mortally harms themselves
  • Persons impersonating healthcare providers causing death or serious injury
  • Physical or sexual assaults on patients or staff is unacceptable
  • Spinal manipulation results in death or serious injury
  • Stage 3 or 4 pressure sores acquired while in care
  • Wrong gas or substance delivered to patient resulting in death or serious injury

A study by Johns Hopkins on malpractice cases over the past couple of decades reveals that never events occur approximately 4,000 times a year in the US. This breaks down to 39 objects left in bodies during surgery a week, 20 wrong patient surgeries a week, and 20 wrong part surgeries a week. Even more startling was that 62% of doctors that were successfully sued for committing a never event were involved in more than 1 malpractice report, and 12% were named in separate never events. Make sure you shop around for reputable doctors. This study shows that doctors who have committed never events likely have a poor history and repeats of such actions.

If you were seriously injured or a loved one died from a physician’s or health care provider’s gross negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Call the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts. If we take your medical malpractice case, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means we don’t get paid unless a settlement or recovery of funds is made on your behalf.