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What are “Never Events” in the Context of Maryland Medical Malpractice Law?

hospitalWhen a patient is about to undergo treatment or surgery for a particular medical condition, certain adverse effects may be inevitable. In other cases, adverse effects may be a result of a medical mistake. While certain errors are understandable, some are so shocking and outrageous that they should never have happened. These events are commonly known as “never events.” The term was first coined in 2001 by Ken Kizer, MD, a former CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF).

The NQF identifies 29 events that are considered to be never events. Some examples include:

  • Surgeons operating on the wrong person;
  • Surgeons operating on the wrong body part;
  • Surgeons performing the wrong procedure altogether;
  • Leaving a foreign object in the patient’s body;
  • Using dirty or unsterilized medical instruments in surgery;
  • Infusing the wrong blood type into a patient;
  • Death or injury resulting from the introduction of a metallic object into an MRI area;
  • Oxygen lines containing no gas or the wrong gas; or
  • Permitting medical personnel to treat a patient while the personnel is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

In 2007, the Leapfrog Group began tracking data on never events. In 2015, the group released a report stating that one in five hospitals in the United States do not meet the group’s standards for accurately reporting when never events take place.

If you or someone close to you has suffered harm due to a never event, you will likely have a medical malpractice claim against the health care provider and potentially the facility at which the never event took place. Under Maryland law, medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider deviates from the standard of care that a reasonable health care provider in the same specialty would have used under the same or similar circumstances.

Victims of never events may be able to seek a variety of damages, including medical bills, rehabilitation costs, disability, pain and suffering, and any other expenses arising from the malpractice. Of course, the exact amount of compensation will vary in each case depending on the nature and severity of the harm.

Medical malpractice claims, like other personal injury lawsuits, must be filed within a certain time period, known as the statute of limitations. Failing to file within the statute of limitations could mean losing your right to be heard before a court altogether. Thus, it is imperative to work with an attorney who will be vigilant about deadlines.

If you or someone you love has been a victim of a medical mistake or never event, you have rights. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can carefully examine the facts of your case and determine whether compensation may be possible. You can rest assured we will zealously advocate for your legal rights at every step of the way. We take on clients across Maryland. To discuss your case in more detail, feel free to call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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