The Joint Commission defines a medical “sentinel event” – also known as a never event – as “any patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm, or severe temporary harm.” Although regulatory and accreditation agencies like the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) have actively tried to reduce the rates of never events at healthcare facilities, adverse events are still a leading cause of death and injury among American adults.
Whether you’ve suffered a dangerous wrong-site surgery or severe physical abuse at the hands of your physician, you are entitled to seek compensation for injuries related to a medical never event. When you work with our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys, we will apply decades of legal experience and advanced medical training to your claim. We’ve recovered over $350 million in settlements and verdicts for injury victims – and we are ready to fight for justice on your behalf.
Need to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer? Call (816) 253-8606 for a free and confidential consultation with our team in Kansas City.
What Is a Medical Never Event?
According to a study performed at Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2012, up to 4,000 surgical “never events” happen every year in the United States, and it is believed that there are many more incidents that are never reported. In at least 90% of the cases examined, the patient suffered a temporary or permanent injury as a direct result of a never event, with patients dying in 6% of all cases. More recently, the independent hospital rating agency known as The Leapfrog Group uncovered that over a quarter of all hospitals fail to comply with their official never event policy.
Never events can include any of the following:
- Medication and prescription errors
- Wrong-site surgeries
- Sexual and physical assault
- Retained foreign objects
- Maternal mortality during a low-risk childbirth
- Defective medical devices
- IV errors
- Stage 3 and 4 Pressure sores
- Delay in treatment
- Failure to read test results
What Causes Never Events?
Medical never events can take many different forms, but they often share a common cause: Physician negligence. This negligence can be early discharge, lack of internal communication or lack of patient supervision, for example. In the most severe cases, these inexcusable accidents draw on the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitur – meaning that the very existence of the accident proves negligence took place. If you’ve been the victim of a never event while receiving medical care, negligence may be the reason for your injuries.
Victims of never events may be entitled to pursue the following damages:
- Medical bills and expenses related to the incident
- Physical and emotional pain
- Rehabilitative care and therapy
- Long-term care assistance
- Home modifications for disabilities
- Past and future lost wages
- Wrongful death of a family member
- Reduced quality and enjoyment of life
As experienced attorneys who also have medical degrees, the Kansas City team at Cullan & Cullan is committed to helping you seek full and fair compensation after your life is disrupted by a medical never event. Physicians have a responsibility to ensure that they “do no harm” to patients, which means that you can hold them accountable if preventable negligence caused your injuries. As proven advocates for the injured, it’s our goal to help you recover the maximum compensation available and find peace of mind for your future.