According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the term “never event” was first coined by Dr. Ken Kizer CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF). A “never event” refers to a shocking, inexcusable medical event, i.e. medical error, that should never occur. These events result in death or significant disability, and are always preventable. As of 2011, the list of never events included twenty-nine events grouped into the following categories:

  • Surgical
  • Product/device
  • Patient protection
  • Care management
  • Environmental
  • Radiology
  • Criminal

Never events were the subject of a recently published Johns Hopkins study which found that at least 4,000 of these events occur in the United States each year. The research pointed out that a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object in a patient after an operation approximately thirty nine times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient twenty times a week, and operates on the wrong body site twenty times a week. These are the most common types of never events, and all of them have serious consequences for the patient.

Marty Makary, MD., M.P.H, the research study lead and associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, states that these never events are totally preventable. He goes on to add that the study highlights that efforts to prevent these never events is lacking and that attention to needs to be paid to prevent careless surgical mistakes.

The Johns Hopkins researchers collected data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). From this federal database the researchers identified over 9,000 paid medical malpractice claims between 1990-2010 with payments made totaling over 1.3 billion dollars. The researchers say that documenting the magnitude of the never events is key to developing better systems so that these events can be prevented.

Dr. Makary goes on to say that medical centers have patient-safety procedures that have long been in place to prevent never events, but most of their efforts are not foolproof. The researchers also note that many hospitals are taking steps to achieve more precise measures to prevent human error along with putting better reporting systems into place. It is believed that increased public reporting and documentation will put hospitals under scrutiny to make things safer.

New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys Help Victims of Never Events

If you have suffered an injury that may be caused by medical malpractice in New Jersey, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer at the personal injury law firm of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of clients affected by a never event or other medical malpractice. Our knowledgeable professionals will help you get the compensation you deserve. Our law offices are located in Red Bank, Edison and Toms River, and we represent clients throughout New Jersey.  Call our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys today at 732-384-1331 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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