Preventable, identifiable, and serious medical mistakes happen daily in the United States. While not common, “never events” have a high likelihood of causing death, disability, and serious consequences for patients.
Have you been injured in a never event like a surgical mistake or medication error in Mobile, AL? At Lattof & Lattof, P.C., we have more than 65 years of experience representing patients who have been hurt in medical malpractice cases. Contact a Mobile never events lawyer at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. today to fight for your right to fair compensation.
How Lattof & Lattof, P.C. Can Help with a Never Event Claim
You trust your surgeon or healthcare provider to give you the best care possible. They have undergone years of training and specialization to prepare them for the difficult task ahead of them and there is no reason to expect a preventable mistake to occur.
Never events are so named because they should never happen in any healthcare setting. These mistakes are so preventable and serious that they create a very strong malpractice case but they also come with very serious health and financial consequences.
Because claims involving never events can have a very high value, insurance companies are particularly aggressive in fighting them. While you struggle to recover from the injuries you have been left with, the last thing you should be doing is fighting with an insurance company to prove the extent of your injuries.
Lattof & Lattof, P.C. is a family-owned law firm with more than 65 years of legal experience representing clients in complex and serious medical malpractice claims. We have more than 100 years of combined experience that we put to work investigating your case, consulting with experts, and fighting for your rights.
We are passionate about every case we accept and we have represented over 10,000 clients against large defendants with costly legal teams. Our firm may be small but we have secured massive verdicts and settlements for our clients to improve their quality of life.
A Mobile personal injury lawyer at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. is here to help you through every step of your medical malpractice claim. We will stand up for you and give you the support you need to get back on your feet.
What Is a Never Event?
In 2002, nonprofit organization National Quality Forum (NQF) developed a list of “Serious Reportable Events” and coined the term “never event.” This phrase refers to events in a hospital that should never happen because they are usually avoidable, easily identifiable, and pose a serious risk of disability or wrongful death in patients.
While NQF research is supported by Medicare, the list was developed as a baseline for unacceptable standards of care for the public.
There are 29 “never events” listed by the NQF in seven categories. The following events should never occur in any healthcare setting and when they do happen, the healthcare provider or facility may be held liable.
Invasive or Surgical Events
These never events involve invasive procedures and surgery. They include:
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient
- Surgery performed on the wrong site
- The wrong procedure performed on a patient
- A foreign object or medical instrument left in the patient
- Death during surgery or post-op in a normal and healthy patient
Cases of surgical errors are considered very serious and often result in complications and the need for a longer hospital stay and revision surgery.
Product and Device Events
Never events can also involve medical devices and products. Never events include:
- Death or serious injury associated with intravascular air embolism during treatment in a healthcare setting
- Death or serious injury due to the use or function of a device in patient care when the device is not used as intended
- Death or serious injury due to contamination of the device or biologics provided in a healthcare setting
These types of never events often involve product liability claims.
Patient Protection Events
The NQF lists three types of never events involving patient protection. A patient or resident should never be released or discharged if they are unable to make decisions except to an authorized person.
There should never be a patient death or serious injury associated with a patient’s disappearance. There should there be a suicide, self-harm, or attempted suicide that results in serious injury in a healthcare setting.
Care Management Events
There are many never events associated with patient care management:
- Stage 3, Stage 4, and unstageable pressure ulcers (bed sores) that are acquired after admission to any healthcare setting
- Death or serious injury due to unsafe blood product administration
- Death or serious injury due to medication errors such as the wrong dose, the wrong drug, or the wrong patient
- Maternal death or serious injury associated with delivery or labor in a low-risk pregnancy in a healthcare setting
- Artificial insemination with the wrong egg or sperm donor
- Death or serious injury involving a fall while under care in a healthcare setting
- Death or serious injury due to a failure in follow-up or communication regarding lab, pathology, or radiology results
- Death or serious injury resulting from irretrievable loss of irreplaceable biological specimens
These never events can occur in many types of settings including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. In the case of the latter, they may involve nursing home abuse or neglect.
There are four never events listed under this category:
- Death or serious injury associated with the use of restraints or bedrails under care in a healthcare setting
- Death or serious injury of patients or staff due to a burn from any source in a healthcare setting
- Incidents in which a system designed for oxygen or another type of gas delivered to a patient has the wrong gas, no gas, or is contaminated
- Death or serious injury to a patient or staff member due to electric shock during care in a healthcare setting
These incidents may occur in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
There is one never event in this category. It involves death or serious injury to a patient or staff member when a metallic object is introduced into an MRI area. These incidents typically occur in hospitals.
Most seriously, the NQF lists four types of never events that are criminal.
- Abduction of a patient or resident regardless of age
- Care ordered or provided by someone who is impersonating a licensed healthcare provider
- Death or serious injury of a patient or staff member due to physical assault on the property of a healthcare setting
- Sexual abuse of a patient or staff member within a healthcare setting
These cases may occur in a hospital, assisted living facility, or nursing home.
How Common Are Never Events?
According to a major study by John Hopkins University, about 80,000 never events happened throughout the United States between 1990 and 2010.
That’s about 4,000 never events every year.
The study found that:
- Patients between 40 and 49 were at the highest risk of being harmed in a never event
- Surgical mistakes were often made by surgeons with a record of failure. 62% of surgeons were cited in more than one medical malpractice report.
- 20 times per week, the wrong procedure was performed on patients.
- Surgery was performed on the wrong body part about 20 times per week.
- Around 39 times per week, a foreign object was left in a patient’s body after surgery.
- These cases totaled more than $1.3 billion in medical malpractice judgments and claims.
- 59.2% of cases involved temporary injury, 32.9% involved permanent injury, and 6.6% resulted in the death of a patient
The researchers noted that their estimate is likely low. It only includes never events that resulted in a judgment or settlement and were reported by a hospital. Many cases are not discovered, including cases in which objects are left in patients and not discovered until a patient has complications later.
Some types of never events happen more often than other incidents. A Joint Commission study of never events in 2016 and 2017 found the following are the most common:
- Foreign object left in a patient (14.4%)
- Falls (14.1%)
- Wrong procedure, wrong site, or wrong patient (11.8%)
- Suicide by a patient (11%)
- Delayed treatment (8.1%)
These are only incidents that were reported and occurred in hospitals and nursing facilities across the United States.
Compensation for a Never Event Injury Claim
If you or someone you love is injured due to a never event, you likely have a strong claim against the medical facility or healthcare provider. An experienced never events lawyer in Mobile, Alabama can help you build your case to show the extent of the damages you have suffered.
A successful medical malpractice claim can help you recover compensation for the financial, physical, emotional, and psychological harm you have suffered. You may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including future and ongoing medical care related to the event
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity if you are left temporarily or permanently disabled
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
When someone dies as the result of a never event, surviving family members may also bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages available in a wrongful death claim can include final and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and the wages and benefits your loved one would have provided if they had lived.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Never Event Injury Claim in Alabama
Alabama law places a strict statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. If you are injured due to a never event, you have just two years from the date of the event to file your claim. If you do not, you lose the right to compensation.
This same 2-year statute of limitations also applies to product liability claims and wrongful death claims.
Don’t allow this seemingly long time limit to cause you to delay doing anything about your claim, however. The sooner you consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Mobile, the sooner your lawyer can begin gathering evidence and building your case. Delays may cause the loss of valuable evidence in your case and make it harder to prove your damages.
Contact a Mobile Never Events Lawyer
Never events may be rare but they still occur every day. These horrific examples of medical malpractice, product liability, and premises liability have left tens of thousands of victims with life-changing injuries and claimed thousands of lives.
Have you or someone you love been seriously hurt by a never event in a healthcare setting? Call Lattof & Lattof, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation with an Alabama never event lawyer to begin building your case. We will put our decades of experience to work for you to fight for the full compensation you deserve.