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What are “never” events in healthcare?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

The first use of the term “never events” occurred in 2001. It refers to medical mistakes so egregious that they should never happen. Since then, the list of never events has grown to cover a range of medical errors.

Most never events seriously affect the patient, often leading to other medical conditions not experienced before the event. When a healthcare professional performs an act that should never happen, it is likely a form of medical malpractice.

Examples of never events

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services divides events that should never happen into seven categories of medical errors. Common examples of these events include the following:

  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Using medical devices improperly
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Releasing an infant to the wrong parents
  • Leaving an item inside the body of a patient
  • Performing the wrong procedure on a patient
  • Using defective or contaminated drugs or devices
  • Allowing a patient to leave the premise (elopement)
  • Intravascular air embolism in patients under medical care

To qualify for a medical malpractice claim, the never event affecting you must lead to death or serious injury/disability. For example, if your dad elopes from the hospital but is found before an injury or illness occurs, you probably do not have sufficient grounds for a claim.

On the other hand, if a hospital discharges your newborn to another family, it will almost certainly injure you mentally and emotionally. Therefore, you have the right to seek justice in a malpractice claim.

Consider learning more about medical malpractice in Tennessee if the action or inaction of a healthcare professional has seriously impacted your life.