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What are 'never events' in the medical environment?

Going to the doctor can be a stressful experience for any patient, whether they are going in for routine care or are undergoing a specific medical procedure. People generally understand that there is no guarantee that an operation or treatment will be completely effective and safe, but we should be able to expect that medical staff will provide a reasonable level of care.

While this is often the case, there are instances when doctor, nurse or other medical worker fails to take this responsibility seriously and ends up making a catastrophic error. In certain situations, these grievous mistakes are referred to as "never events," because they are so preventable and dangerous that they should never happen in any hospital room. If you have suffered as a result of one of these events, which we will detail in this post, it can be crucial to explore your legal options.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there are nearly 30 types of errors that fall into six categories when it comes to never events. These categories and some of these errors include:

  • Environmental: contaminated oxygen supplies, electrical shock, burns or unnecessary restraint during a procedure.
  • Patient protection: failure to protect patient from committing suicide, disappearing or leaving the hospital without authorization.
  • Surgical: wrong-site surgery, leaving foreign objects in a person after surgery, wrong procedure performed.
  • Care management: failure to prevent patient falls, medication errors, incomplete testing and failures to avoid injury or death during labor in low-risk pregnancies.
  • Radiologic: erroneously allowing metal objects in MRI machines
  • Criminal: impersonating medical professionals and administering care, physical assault, abduction or sexual abuse.
  • Product of device: misuse of medical devices or use of contaminated materials.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to one of the mistakes mentioned in this post, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim in Pittsburgh. These errors should never happen in a medical environment, so it can be crucial to hold the negligent or reckless parties accountable if and when they do.

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