Denver Never Event Attorneys
Get Justice After a Shocking Medical Error Causes Injury
A “never event” is a kind of medical error that the medical community agrees should never occur. These are harmful incidents that are clearly identifiable, measurable, preventable—and often cause serious or fatal injury.
Unfortunately, more than 4,000 surgical never events occur each year, according to data compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Even worse, 71% of never events reported between 1995 and 2015 were fatal.
If you or a loved one suffered devastating harm at the hands of healthcare providers, don’t wait. Call a top Denver medical malpractice attorney at Leventhal & Puga, P.C. Our team is at the forefront of litigation to make medical care safer, and we aggressively pursue justice for people harmed by medical providers. Call (877) 433-3906 for a no-cost initial consultation.
What Is a Never Event?
There are 29 “serious reportable events” considered to be never events by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. All of these events fit into one of the following seven categories:
- Surgical or procedural events
- Product or device events
- Patient protection events
- Care management events
- Environmental events
- Radiologic events
- Criminal events
According to The Joint Commission, these were the ten most frequently reported never events in 2017:
- Unintended retention of a foreign body. Usually, this is a sponge or gauze left inside a patient post-operation, which can cause infection, toxic shock, or sepsis.
- Falling. When a patient is checked into a hospital or healthcare facility, he or she should not be able to fall and get hurt. Staff must monitor and assist anyone with a risk of falling, such as seniors or weakened patients.
- Wrong-patient, wrong-site, wrong-procedure. When a surgical team manages to get someone in and out of the operating room without double-checking basic facts about the patient and procedure, these errors happen.
- Suicide of a patient. While under inpatient care, patients must be protected from all harm, including the threats they pose to themselves. Mentally unstable or depressed patients require special attention, and staff are supposed to give it to them.
- Delay in treatment. Cancer and heart disease are the most misdiagnosed diseases in America, and grounds for many medical malpractice claims. Doctors must always take note of symptoms and follow standard procedure in ordering tests for every patient who shows troubling signs. If they did, many lives would be saved.
- An “unanticipated” event. This includes patients being suffocated, burned, choking on food, drowning, or being found unresponsive.
- Criminal event. Patients should never be raped, assaulted, or victimized while in a hospital’s care. It doesn’t matter if the perpetrator was a staff member, another patient, or an intruder. It cannot happen.
- Medication error. This may occur when a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or dosage, or a nurse gives the wrong drug or dosage (or administers the drug incorrectly, as in the case of one of our patients), or a pharmacist does the same thing.
- Operative/post-operative complication. A patient might suffer a surgical site infection (SSI), compartment syndrome (swelling of the tissues), or a dangerous reaction to anesthesia.
- Self-inflicted injury. Again, medical staff are responsible for every patient’s welfare. No patient should be able to harm him/herself or others.
In our practice, the never events we routinely see are falls and stage 3 to 4 bedsores. There is no standard reporting system across the United States, and each state has its own definition of what constitutes a “reportable” event. Because of this, never events are often suppressed by hospitals, and underreported as a whole.
How Do You Prove Medical Malpractice Occurred?
After healthcare providers failed to prevent a never event from happening, you may have a medical malpractice claim. To prove it, you must show that your physician or nurse acted negligently in caring for you, meaning he or she failed to use reasonable care.
In order to prove negligence, four legal elements must be proven:
- A professional duty was owed to the patient – the healthcare provider was assigned to provide care for you in a professional setting. This can typically be proved easily through medical records.
- The healthcare provider breached his or her duty of care – by committing an inexcusable medical error.
- The negligence was a cause of your injury, not a coincidence.
- Your injury caused you to suffer damages, which could be considered physical harm, emotional or mental harm, lost wages due to time off of work, etc.
You’ll need a medical expert to testify as to what went wrong and how the provider should have behaved or performed in the given situation. In the case of a never event, demonstrating the error may be quite straightforward. But this does not mean it is easy.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim is two years. Depending on several factors, you may have more or less time. Regardless, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Work with a Team of Nationally Acclaimed Trial Attorneys
These medical errors should never happen to patient under any circumstance. But when a never event occurs, hospitals and their insurance companies may try to spin the story and avoid blame.
Leventhal & Puga, P.C., can help you untangle the red tape and fight to get the compensation you deserve after being wronged by healthcare providers. If you would like to speak to a Denver medical malpractice attorney about your potential case, call our Denver office at (303) 759-9945. We accept cases nationwide.