Entrusting your health and safety or that of your spouse or child to a California medical team can be a stressful experience, especially if you have a serious medical issue. For instance, if you or your loved one needs surgery, you must be confident that the surgeon and assisting team will provide quality care and perform the operation in accordance with industry standards and state laws. If any member of the team is negligent, severe injury or illness may occur, creating grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The term “never event” refers to medical incidents that occur that are entirely preventable and caused by negligence. An alarming number of such events occur in California medical facilities and other hospitals and medical centers throughout the country. If you or your family member suffer injury because of a never event, you may take comfort in knowing that state law provides recourse for you to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Never events often occur in connection with surgery
Surgery doesn’t just include the actual operation you undergo for a specific health condition. Your medical team also provides pre-op care and post-operative care. The following list shows never events that often occur before, during or after surgery:
- Wrong-site surgery
- Wrong patient surgery
- Wrong procedure
- Retention of foreign object in the body
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors
There are systems in place that make it easy for medical workers, including surgeons, nurses, lab technicians, anesthesiologists and others, to avoid such errors. A never event should “never” occur.
Medical negligence extends beyond the operating room
Never events also often occur in connection with other aspects of health care, such as in the radiology department or in a patient’s room, or even after a patient leaves the hospital. If you experience these issues, it might constitute medical malpractice:
- Loss of a biological specimen in or en route to a laboratory
- Introduction of a metallic object in an MRI zone
- Failure to communicate pathology, laboratory or radiology results
- Unsafe handling or administration of blood products
- Infected bed sores
- Faulty equipment, such as problems with bed rails or wheelchairs
You are not responsible for the actions of your medical team. These are professionals who are specially trained to do their jobs. Their training includes skills and knowledge to know how to keep patients safe and avoid never events.
What is being done about the problem?
Numerous states, including California, have enacted laws that mandate public reporting of never events. External entities, such as The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, have been proactive to try to reduce the number of never events by refusing to pay for costs associated with preventable medical errors.
If you or your spouse or child have suffered illness or injury because of medical negligence, it may be helpful to speak with a patient advocate who can provide additional resources to assist you in recovery. Sadly, never events often result in fatality, in which case, if you have suffered the devastating loss of a spouse or child, you may act on his or her behalf to seek justice in a civil court.