According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the term “Never Event” is a reference to particularly shocking medical errors. These include wrong site surgery, retained objects, incorrect medical procedures, falls, pressure ulcers/bed sores and suicides. Of the Never Events reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, 39% were pressure ulcers/bed sores; 30% were falls; 12% were retained foreign objects; 7% were wrong site surgery; 5% were the performance of the wrong medical procedure; 2% were medication errors; and 1% were suicides. For examples, surgical events include surgery or other invasive procedure performed on the wrong body party; surgery or other invasive procedure performed on the wrong patient; wrong surgical or other invasive procedure performed on a patient; unintended retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery or other procedure; or intra-operative or immediate postoperative post procedural death in a Class 1 patient.
Seventy-One Percent (71%) of Never Events are fatal. These are indicative of a fundamental safety problem within an organization. Never Events are devastating and preventable. Since August 2007, Medicare will no longer pay for additional costs associated with many preventable errors, including those considered Never Events. Healthcare facilities must be held further accountable for correcting systemic problems that contributed to the event and some states mandate performance of a root cause analysis and reporting its results. Patients must be and feel safe and protected from “Never Events.”
Never events are often indicative of malpractice. Unfortunately, some medical facilities do not report these Never Events as they are so required. If you, a family member or a friend have not been treated safely or protected from a Never Event such as pressure ulcers, a fall, never surgical events, or medication errors, contact Rolf Louis Patberg, Esquire at the Patberg Law Firm at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 232-3500 or 1-800-471-6880.