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What is a never event?

Never event is the phrase used in health care settings to refer to events that just aren't supposed to happen. These are preventable accidents or occurrences that hospital staff work to avoid because they are dangerous for patients or staff, and they can increase the cost of healthcare. In an ideal situation, never events would not occur; in reality, staff try to keep them at a minimal level.

Some examples of never events include bed sores for a patient who is bed bound, patients experiencing an infection after they are admitted for treatment for a different condition and falls. For example, if a patient gets out of a hospital bed in the middle of the night to use the rest room and falls and injures himself or herself, this would be considered a never event. Most hospitals have protocols in place to assist patients who need help getting in and out of bed.

A fall might sound like a small thing, but it can be disastrous for at-risk patients. And infections and other never events can drastically change a person's healthcare needs and even result in death. While exact statistics on never events aren't available, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality does not that one in every 25 hospitalized patients experiences an injury because of medical errors.

When medical errors lead to injury, the requirement for more treatment, and medical expenses, then you don't always have to foot the bill for such treatment alone. And if errors lead to a sustained loss of quality of life, then you have even more reason to reach out to hospitals for possible compensation. You can do so through legal channels by working with a professional who understands the ins and outs of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Source: gallup.com, "Hospitals: Never Have a Never Event," Maggie Ozan-Rafferty, accessed Nov. 27, 2015

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