A never event is something that should never happen. The National Quality Forum (NQF) offers a more precise definition. They require three things to be true for something to be a never event.
First, it was preventable. Second, you can identify it and measure the consequences. Third, it causes death or severe disability. Proving these three things will be crucial if you wish to claim medical negligence.
What types of errors constitute a never event?
The NFQ identifies 29 events that could count and split them into seven categories:
- Surgical: Surgeons sometimes operate on the wrong body part or even get the wrong patient. They may also leave foreign objects inside the body after surgery.
- Products or devices: Doctors need to use the right equipment for the task and ensure it works. If drugs used are faulty, you may need to hold the pharmaceutical company responsible if the fault lies with them rather than the hospital.
- Patient protection: If the hospital discharged mom early, or she escaped in the night, you can argue the hospital is responsible if mom got hit by a car.
- Care management: This covers things such as prescription errors or other failures to take enough care.
- Environmental: Your dad suffers severe burns when a fire breaks out on the ward or because the sterile water a nurse used to clean the wound is actually acid.
- Radiologic: MRI scans and X-rays all carry known risks that the staff needs to protect patients from.
- Criminal: Someone assaults you while in the hospital bed. Or you later discover that your doctor was not qualified.
Almost everyone would agree that a never event is inexcusable except for the person who made it and their insurer. They will seek to justify why it was not as bad as you think to avoid paying you compensation. You need to show a court they are wrong.