What Are Never Events in Medical Malpractice?

People in New Mexico who want to know more about the types of medical errors that may happen should learn about a group of errors that are acknowledged by medical professionals as “never events”. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality explains that this term was first coined 16 years ago by the former leader of the National Quality Forum. These medical errors are grouped by type.

One type of never event is radiologic and is evidenced by the serious injury or death of a person because metal was present in a room in which an MRI was performed. Errors involving care management include serious injury or death of patient due to a fall or a gap in communication regarding some type of test result. An operation performed on the wrong part or side of the body or even the wrong patient are types of surgical never events.

Events involving lack of proper protection of patients comprise yet another group. Examples include actual or attempted self-harm of a patient while in a hospital or other health care facility. Another example is the release of a person from care when that person is not competent to make good decisions. One exception here is if the patient is released to another authorized party. Errors involving medical devices or products are also included as a type of never event as are events in which environmental factors cause serious injury or death.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give New Mexico residents an understanding of the types of errors that the medical community recognizes as “never events”.

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