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What Are “Never Events” – and How Do They Lead to Wrongful Death in Hospitals? New York City Accident Attorney Investigates

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2016 | Firm News

Hospitals should be safe facilities, dedicated to healing and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many of them are unbelievably busy, staffed by overworked nurses and doctors who can make mistakes under pressure.

According to new research from leading peer-reviewed medical journal The BMJ, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States – responsible for more than 250,000 fatalities every year. On top of that, a recent study in The Journal of Patient Safety shows that the incidence of injury is far higher: Doctors are 10 to 20 times more likely to do serious harm than lethal harm.

If your family member died while being treated in a hospital, contact a New York City personal-injury lawyer from Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP. An accident attorney will evaluate your case to determine if you have grounds for a wrongful death claim.

Our lawyers have more than 75 years of combined experience litigating personal-injury claims. Call 917-730-7151 to schedule a free initial consultation.

What Are “Never Events” – and Why Do They Happen So Often?

Doctors do not set out to hurt or maim their patients, but they are only human, and humans make mistakes. “Never events” are given that name simply because doctors, nurses and other medical professionals understand that these incidents should never happen – but they still do.

Of all the different kinds of medical errors – such as dispensing the incorrect prescription, delivering the wrong diagnosis, or administering drugs improperly – never events are the most serious. This is because they cause the most harm yet are the easiest mistakes to avoid.

Common never events include surgical procedures gone drastically wrong. It is not unheard of for doctors to perform the incorrect procedure, perform the correct procedure on the wrong part of the patient’s body, transplant the wrong organ, and even leave objects inside the patient’s body.

In a study published in the journal Surgery, the Mayo Clinic examined thousands of surgical procedures to find the most frequent doctors’ mistakes. The researchers then grouped those errors by primary cause – and listed these as the most common causes of never events:

  • Poor Preconditions: Stress, fatigue and distractions can all hinder a doctor’s ability to do his or her job with a reasonable level of care.
  • Lack of Safety: Medical practitioners may bend or even break the rules to treat a patient when they become convinced of a diagnosis that later turns out to be incorrect – and this can do more harm than good.
  • Inadequate Oversight: Budgetary and other logistical constraints can hinder strategy and supervision and lead to staff shortages – and all of this may have a detrimental effect on each patient’s individual care.
  • Substandard Organization: Hospitals are large facilities with countless moving parts. A small oversight or failure in organizational systems could lead to a devastating medical mistake.

Was your family member the victim of medical malpractice? Contact a personal-injury lawyer from Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP to discuss your legal options.

A New York City accident attorney will gather evidence and handle settlement negotiations. If your case goes to trial, we have the litigation experience to represent your interests in court. Call 917-730-7151 to schedule a free initial consultation.