woman lying in hospital bed after medical malpractice - The eberst law firm in gaineville, stuart, and fort meyers florida

When people head to the hospital, they usually expect a certain standard of care and entrust that their physician will be fully able to take the best care of them.  However, some adverse events exist that people think would never happen. For example, someone wouldn’t go to the hospital with a broken left arm and ever expect that the doctor would perform an emergency operation on his or her right arm.  Furthermore, if you go to the hospital with a broken left arm, you will likely be in so much pain and shock that one of the last things on your mind would be making sure that the doctor operates on the correct arm. These adverse events that people never imagine would happen are called “never events”, and according to research by Health Leaders Media, efforts to identify, report, and prevent these events have been irregular.

We at the Eberst Law Firm urge you to read the below article so that you can learn about Never Events and research your local hospitals to see if they are up to par with their standard of care.

What is a Never Event?

Ken Kizer, M.D. is the former CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF), which is a non-profit organization that works to make improvements in healthcare; Dr. Kizer first coined the term “never event”.  The term is used to describe particularly shocking medical mistakes that should never occur, such as performing surgery on the wrong body part.

The 2016 Table of Never Events consists of 29 events have been lumped into 7 different groups.

Below is a list of the 7 groups, with some examples from each group:

  • Surgical events
    • Wrong surgical or other invasive procedure performed on a patient
    • Surgery or other invasive procedure performed on the wrong patient
  • Product or device events
    • Patient death or serious injury associated with the use of contaminated drugs, devices, or biologics provided by the health care setting
    • Patient death or serious injury associated with the use or function of a device in patient care, in which the device is used for functions other than as intended
  • Patient protection events
    • Patient suicide, attempted suicide, or self-harm resulting in a serious disability, while being cared for in a health care facility
    • Patient death or serious injury associated with the use or function of a device in patient care, in which the device is used for functions other than as intended
  • Care management events
    • Artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or wrong egg
    • Patient death or serious injury associated with a fall while being cared for in a health setting
  • Environmental events
    • Any incident in which a line designated for oxygen or other gas to be delivered to a patient contains no gas, the wrong gas, or is contaminated by toxic substances
    • Patient or staff death or serious injury associated with a burn incurred from any source in the course of a patient care process in a health care setting
  • Radiologic events
    • Death or serious injury of a patient or staff associated with introduction of a metallic object into the MRI area
  • Criminal events
    • Sexual abuse/assault on a patient within or on the grounds of a health care setting
    • Death or significant injury of a patient or staff member resulting from a physical assault (i.e., battery) that occurs within or on the grounds of a health care setting

Hospital Policies for Never Events

Becker’s Hospital Review is a website that specializes in featuring information about hospital and health care analysis, and in June of 2016 they published a recent article which indicated that 1 in 5 hospitals don’t have a policy to handle never events.  The article further explains that hospitals that have these policies show a true dedication to their patients along with a desire to continuously improve.  

According to Leapfrog, an organization that collects and discloses information on almost 2,000 hospitals, the standard for a sufficient Never Events Policy would include:

  • Apologizing to the patient and/or family
  • Reporting the incident to an outside agency within 10 days
  • Perform a root-cause analysis
  • Waive costs related to the never event
  • Make a policy available to the patients, family members and payers upon request

Healthcare Rankings of Florida’s Hospitals

Leapfrog offers various tools on their website for people to obtain information regarding hospitals both nationally and locally.  The “Compare Hospitals” link allows people to search for hospitals within a certain range of a zip code, and then review the hospital’s ratings.  The ratings are categorized by Inpatient Care Management (a subcategory deals with Never Events Management), Medication Safety, Infections, High-Risk Surgery, Cancer Surgery, Maternity Care, and Pediatric Care.

Of note is that Leapfrog just released their Fall 2018 hospital safety grades, and there are hospitals in Florida that received “F” grades.  Be sure to review Leapfrog’s website to research the hospitals around your area so that you can obtain the best care possible.

At The Eberst Law Firm, we want you to feel informed regarding the types of hospitals surrounding you so that you obtain the best care possible.

Consult with an Attorney Regarding a Hospital Error

If you or a loved one have been or even suspect you have been a victim of Medical Malpractice or a Never Event, you need to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.  The statute of limitations for these types of errors in Florida is typically only two years, so time is of the essence with this sort of claim.  Additionally, the sooner you involve an attorney, the sooner you will be on the road to recovering from this traumatic, life-changing event.  Let us put your mind to ease as we pursue the negligent parties and you focus on your healing. Contact Eberst Law at 772-225-4900 or contact us online.