Things That Should Never Happen in a Healthcare Environment

by HGD Staff

If you are living with the fallout from a medical error, you may not even realize it, but there are actually federal regulations that are designed to keep healthcare providers from being paid for their own mistakes. While these are financial rules designed to protect taxpayers, the regulations can often help to demonstrate that your injuries were the result of malpractice. At Heninger Garrison Davis, our team of experienced medical negligence lawyers can fight to make sure your rights are protected. Here are a small handful of the many types of injuries that the federal government calls “never events.”

Wrong Site Amputations

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), wrong site amputations are considered something that should simply never happen. Strangely, though, they are quite common. According to a 2010 report from CNN, there were 25 wrong site surgeries in just six and a half years. Just think about what that means. Roughly five patients per year went into Colorado facilities for surgery and had the wrong body part operated on. Unthinkable.

Wrong Patient Procedures

Of course, it is not just the wrong body parts that are a concern; some doctors and hospitals operate on the wrong bodies. Indeed, the same CNN report suggested that records revealed that in the same period of time, 107 patients were inadvertently operated on without a reason. In other words, a little more than 15 people a year had a surgery they were never intended to have.

Items Left Inside the Body

Shocking as it may be, many Americans every year find out that surgical instruments and utensils have been left inside their bodies. One would think that in this day and age, technology and risk management protocols would prevent this unimaginable type of event, but yet they continue to occur.

Bedsores

Despite what some industries – in particular the nursing home industry – would have you believe, most pressure ulcers (a/k/a bedsores) are completely preventable. For most patients and nursing home residents, prevention is really just a matter of staffing and personal attention. Bedsores are rare in high-quality facilities that focus on patient care and maintain adequate staffing. Those facilities still manage to earn plenty of money, but they do so without jeopardizing the lives of residents and patients. Either way, the federal government considers bedsores to be a never event.

Healthcare Acquired Infections

Some infections are tough to prevent, but not impossible. With proper infection control measures and a well-trained nursing staff, most hospitals, nursing homes, and surgical centers are able to eliminate the spread of disease and biological risks. Other facilities may fail to take precautions seriously, thereby allowing otherwise healthy patients to be exposed. Imagine going into a hospital for a routine procedure, only to end up admitted for months and struggling for your life due to a careless staff or physicians.

Preventable Falls

Medicare has long referred to healthcare-acquired fractures and falls as never events. Determining whether a fall was preventable or not can be a bit difficult in some cases. For instance, nursing home patients frequently become dizzy, lose their balance, or experience weakness, due to medications, medical conditions, or other reasons. So, a nursing home and its employees must take special precautions to keep the environment safe. It is not enough to say that a person was “bound to fall” because if that were true, then it would be even more incumbent upon the healthcare providers to take precautions. The same goes for surgical centers and hospitals that fail to use reasonable care when helping to move patients from the bed to a wheelchair or vice versa.

How Never Events May Impact Your Case

If you were injured in a healthcare facility and believe that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, contact Heninger Garrison Davis to discuss your options. Often the mere fact that your injury was a never event can be strong evidence of negligence. In a modern court of law, it is difficult to rest solely on that argument, however, because large healthcare corporations and their powerful insurance companies will do just about anything to avoid making amends for the harm.

If you are facing a lifelong injury, death in your family, or a permanent medical condition as a result of medical malpractice, call our firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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