What are “Never Events” in medical malpractice law?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Personal Injury

Doctors and others who work in health care will make mistakes. Everyone in every profession is prone to do so occasionally. However, some mistakes simply should not happen.  

In 2001, the then-CEO of the National Quality Forum (NFQ) came up with the concept of a “Never Event” to reflect this.

The NFQ defines Never Events as “adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable.”

The NFQ has created a list of Never Events

The NFQ identified 29 events across seven categories:

  1. Surgical or procedural events: For example, operating on the wrong body part or wrong patient or leaving a foreign object inside a patient’s body after surgery.
  2. Product or device events: Causing death or serious injury due to contaminated drugs or the wrong medical device.
  3. Patient protection events: These events come down to a lack of supervision by the hospital. For instance, a patient committing suicide on a ward or coming to harm after escaping.
  4. Care management events: Examples include artificially inseminating the wrong person, having a woman in a low-risk pregnancy die in labor, losing a vital organ after removing it or causing serious harm by making mistakes when administering drugs.
  5. Environmental events: Examples include patients suffering serious harm from electric shocks or fire.
  6. Radiologic events: Serious injury or death due to the presence of a metal object during a scan.
  7. Criminal events: Examples include the abduction or sexual abuse of a patient in the hospital’s care or severe injury or death due to a physical assault. Someone impersonating a nurse or doctor to attend a patient may also fall into this category.

If you or a loved one has suffered a Never Event, you may need to learn how to bring a medical malpractice claim to seek compensation.

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