You might be a person who is diligent about scheduling an annual well-visit with your primary care physician. Then again, you might count yourself among those in Delaware who would rather avoid going to the doctor’s office, unless a specific problem has arisen for which they want to obtain medical examination.
In either case, you have the right to expect that your medical team always has your best health interests in mind and will act in adherence to industry regulations and accepted safety standards at all times when providing you with care or treatment. Sadly, medical malpractice litigation often occurs in this state and others when never events result in patient injury.
What is a never event?
If you haven’t heard the term “never event” in relation to health care, you’re definitely not the only one who is unfamiliar with the phrase. In the medical industry, a never event refers to an incident that occurs because of medical error or negligence that is easily preventable and should not have taken place.
Especially if you require general anesthesia for surgery, you must be able to trust that the surgeon, surgical assistants, anesthesiologists and other medical staff members are doing what they are supposed to do to keep you safe.
Medical errors that constitute never events
If you take a medication and have an adverse reaction to it, it’s not necessarily because of a medical never event. Never events typically refer to serious, preventable errors that occur because of negligence, such as those included in the following list:
- Wrong-site surgery
- Wrong-patient surgery
- Wrong surgical procedure
- Foreign objects or surgical tools left inside a patient’s body
- Medication errors of type, dosage or route
- Failure to report laboratory, radiology or pathology information
This list is by no means extensive but illustrates serious medical errors that may be “never events” because there is a system in place to help medical staff members prevent such incidents.
Never events often have tragic results
If you’re scheduled to have an operation on your left knee, and you awaken from anesthesia to discover that the surgeon accidentally operated on your right knee by mistake, you have no way of undoing the damage that’s been done. The same goes for receiving a surgery that was meant for another patient.
You may also suffer serious injury if a medical worker fails to report important results on a lab, radiology or pathology test. As for foreign objects left inside your body by mistake during surgery, you may not even be aware of the problem until serious symptoms of infection or discomfort set in during recovery, perhaps even days or weeks later.
Recovering from a medical never event
You are not responsible for the behavior of your medical team. Surgeons, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and other staff members know how to prevent never events. Depending on your injuries, you may need additional surgery or medical treatment to recover from a never event.
The last thing you need is to seek medical attention and wind up in worse condition after treatment than you were in at the start due to medical negligence. You can reach out for support from the patient advocacy program at the hospital where your injury occurred.