Never events, in the context of medical malpractice, are events that should never occur. They are events that are inexcusable. According to Johns Hopkins medical malpractice studies, at least 4,000 never events occur throughout the United States each year. The research also indicates that American surgeons leave foreign objects – including medical swabs or sponges – inside a body after a procedure nearly 40 times during any given week. Statistics also indicate surgeons perform incorrect procedures at least 20 times a week and operate on the wrong body part at least 20 times a week.
The National Quality Forum of the United States indicates that there are 28 events on the list of "never events." Some of those are performing a surgery on the wrong patient, a patient committing suicide while in physician care and infants being discharged to the wrong parents. The Joint Commission is the entity responsible for accrediting hospitals and providing regulations on quality control. The most frequently reported never-event involved wrong-site surgery.
Wrong site surgery involves a surgeon performing an operation on the wrong side the patient's body. For example, a surgeon may remove a healthy kidney while leaving the infected one behind. Doctors are required to perform extensive patient counseling before the procedure so these events do not occur. They are even required to mark the correct side of the body, but still, wrong-site surgeries occur at an alarming rape. The next most commonly reported never event is patient suicide, making up approximately 12 percent of all annual never events.
Never events are so devastating because they are avoidable. Had the physician stuck to industry regulations and administered the proper care rather than negligence or carelessness, the event would not have occurred. Never events do not have to lead to the death of the patient, but they can.
In recent times, never events have begun to be more widely reported and the data shared publicly. This is to increase physician accountability. Each state has their own regulations when it comes to sharing "never event" data. This is in part why statistics of these events can be so difficult to come by.
If you or someone you love was the victim of a never event or a similar type of medical malpractice, then do not hesitate to contact a Houston personal injury attorney from our firm. Stern Law Group is passionate about people, and will aggressively pursue clients' rights. To learn more about representation in the event of medical malpractice, please call the firm today.