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Medical never events: Injuries that shouldn't happen, but do

You'd encounter tremendous challenges in trying to find someone in Kentucky or elsewhere who has gone through most of his or her life without ever seeking medical attention. In fact, chances are that you and most people you know have visited a doctor's office on many occasions regarding adverse health symptoms. Perhaps you have or are currently preparing to undergo surgery. You have a right to reasonably expect that your medical team will provide high quality care according to accepted industry standards and safety regulations.

If a nurse, doctor, surgeon, scrub technician or hospital administrator fails in the fiduciary duty to keep you safe from harm while under medical supervision and care, you could wind up being among those who have suffered from never events. The term refers to injuries caused by incidents in a medical environment that should never happen but do, often caused by care provider negligence.

Never events that may place you at risk

Whether you're admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay and close observation, are having a baby, or plan to undergo surgery, one or more of the issues included in the following list can cause you to wind up in a worse condition after medical care than you were to start:

  • There are stringent regulations regarding operating room behavior. Your surgical team knows exactly what to do to make sure no foreign object is left inside your body, which is why this type of never event that is often grounds for medical malpractice claims.
  • As a hospital aid is wheeling you to the OR, you might want to confirm that he or she has the right patient. Wrong-patient surgeries are among the most frequently reported never events in Kentucky and throughout the nation.
  • Even if you're sure you are the right patient heading for surgery, it's also critical to make certain your surgeon does the correct operation. Wrong-procedure errors cause serious patient injuries every year.
  • In addition to operating on the wrong patients or performing the wrong procedures, many medical malpractice claims involve surgeons operating on the wrong body parts.
  • Many medical procedures prompt a need for medication. Serious injuries occur when medical team members make medication errors.

If you happen to transfer from one medical facility to another, you may be at great risk for injury if medical workers do not cross-check your records and pertinent information from one medical team to the other. Sadly, many never events prove fatal. Being a proactive patient may help reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries during a hospital stay.

Higher risks for incapacitated patients

If you're in a car accident and rescue workers transport you to a hospital while unconscious, there's no way you can be proactive toward your own care. Incapacitation often equates to helplessness, unless you happen to have a signed advance directive that designates a medical power of attorney so that someone may make decisions on your behalf.

When something that should never happen does

It's understandable that you might feel a sense of betrayal or even anger if the medical team you trusted has been negligent, thus resulting in injury to you or your loved one. Emotional, physical and financial recovery from such incidents can be long and arduous. It's helpful to speak to others who have gone through similar experiences as well as those who are well-versed in personal injury law.

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