Patients have plenty of things to worry about, but one thing that they should not have to fear is a “never event.” Never events include several kinds of mistakes that should never occur in a properly managed and well-functioning medical facility.
There are four primary kinds of never events. These include:
- Wrong-site surgeries
- Wrong-patient surgeries
- The wrong surgical procedure being performed on a patient
- The unintended retention of a foreign body in the patient’s body
There are over a dozen individual kinds of never events, but these four categories are important for patients to know about and watch out for.
How can you avoid suffering from a never event?
The primary way to avoid never events is through good communication. As a patient, you should be informed about the procedure that will be done on you. You should know exactly which body part is going to be operated on and where it is located (if there are two of the same body parts, like arms or legs).
It is essential that you make sure the medical team has your updated medical information, name, birth date and allergies correct. Don’t be afraid to correct someone who calls you by the wrong name because the reality is that the medical provider might be thinking that they’re talking to a different patient.
Finally, items in a patient being left behind is a never event that is difficult for a patient to address, but medical providers can keep counts to help guarantee that all medical devices and tools are removed following surgery.
If you are hurt by a never event, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You may have a right to compensation.