Has a "Never Event" Ever Happened to You?

"Never Events" are the kind of mistake or medical error that should "NEVER" happen in the field of medical treatment. The term was first introduced in 2001 by Ken Kizer, MD, former CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF), in reference to particularly shocking medical errors (such as wrong-site surgery) that should never occur.

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to improving the quality of health care in the United States. It was established in 1999 based on recommendations by the President's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry.

Over time, the Never Event list has been expanded to signify adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and preventable. The NQF initially defined 27 such events in 2002. The list has been revised since then, most recently in 2011, and now consists of 29 events grouped into 6 categories: surgical, product or device, patient protection, care management, environmental, radiologic, and criminal.

The list of Never Events is long and disturbing. A few examples are:

1. Wrong site surgery

2. Retained foreign object post-surgery

3. Death/disability from wrong or contaminated drug

4. Death/disability due to patient elopement

5. Death/disability from medication error

6. State 3 or 4 pressure ulcers after admission

7. Death/disability from electric shock or burns

8. Death/disability from a fall within the facility

9. Sexual assault of a patient at a health care facility

10. Death/disability associated with incompatible blood

If you or a loved one has ever suffered from a "Never Event" you are not powerless. You have legal options. Rich Hitz as Carlson & Burnett, LLP can counsel you and your family and help you fight for justice. Contact Rich at 402-952-4179 to set up a free consultation.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2814808/table/T1/

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