In 1996, the healthcare accreditation organization known as The Joint Commission implemented a “sentinel event policy,” to help hospitals avoid patient deaths and injuries related to medical “never events.” A medical never event is exactly that – something that is so careless it should never happen. These never events are defined as preventable safety threats that result in adverse patient outcomes. However, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Surgery, approximately 4,000 surgical never events still happen every year.
When you work with our experienced doctor-lawyers at Cullan & Cullan, we will stand by your side throughout the process of filing a medical malpractice claim. There is no excuse for a medical never event to take place – and no excuse for physicians who are negligent in applying the standard of care. With decades of experience, our Phoenix team will fight for justice on your behalf.
For a free consultation, call us at (602) 900-9483 or contact us online.
What Are the Most Common Never Events?
Although many instances of medical malpractice are never reported to regulatory
agencies, The Joint Commission tries to carefully track
s sentinel never event statistics every year, in an attempt to improve patient
care. In 2018, the organization reviewed over 805 reports and updated
the list of the most common medical never events.
Of these top never events, the ones involving physician negligence include:
- Foreign objects left behind in surgery
- Wrong-site surgery
- Criminal wrongdoing, such as assault and fraud
- Medication errors
- Post-surgery complications
- Treatment delay
Between 1990 and 2010, it’s estimated that there were over 9,744 medical malpractice lawsuits filed because of medical and surgical never events, worth over $1.3 billion in total. Aside from the significant financial costs associated with never events, patients who survive these experiences often sustain lasting physical and psychological injuries.
What Causes Never Events?
From preventable pressure ulcers to physician sexual abuse, never events are almost always caused by medical negligence. However, health care facilities and hospitals often also play a role in causing never events when internal communication systems break down. This is one of the reasons that the Joint Commission requires hospitals to perform a “root-cause analysis” after a never event is reported.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Doctors or hospital staff failing to follow check list when preparing for procedures
- Early patient discharge or transfer
- Lack of internal communication
- Defective medical devices
- Physician or nurse negligence
- Failure to maintain sanitary conditions
- Improper surgical procedures
- Lack of patient supervision
- Failure to repeat test results
- Failure to perform safety cross checks
Your Advocates After a Serious Injury
After suffering a medical never event, you may not know where to turn for assistance. Based in Phoenix, our team of practicing lawyers and doctors at Cullan & Cullan can offer experienced legal representation in complex medical never event claims. Additionally, many of our attorneys have further degrees in anatomy and engineering, making it possible to create compelling case reconstructions. With the training and advanced education to make medical terms clear to a judge or jury, we will strive to ensure maximum compensation for your injuries or the loss of a loved one.
For prompt legal assistance, contact our firm today. We offer free consultations.