Medical Never Events
Posted on 6th January 2023 at 10:10
In recent weeks medical Never Events have very much been in the news. This has included a pair of metal surgical forceps left inside a patient who had undergone abdominal surgery at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust and which took place in November of 2022.
Indeed, there has been a record number of episodes of people needing help after a surgical tool or other object was left inside them after a procedure or operation. Recent analysis indicates there were 291 “finished consultant episodes” where a foreign object was left in a body in 2021/22. This compares to 2001/02 where there were 156 of these episodes. This should be a ‘never event’ and there are strict procedures to ensure this does not happen.
What is a Never Event?
This is an incident that is seen as wholly preventable and should never occur if the correct guidance is followed.
Examples of these can include:-
• Foreign objects being left in a patient
• Incorrect placement of implants or prosthesis
• Performing surgery on the wrong part of the body
• Operating on the wrong patient
• Scalding of patients
• Retained vaginal and surgical swabs
• Transfusion of incompatible blood or organs
• Wrong tooth being removed
Why should these events never occur?
The fact that an occurrence does happen may mean that the hospital/Trust is not correctly following the guidance as they should be. These events should never occur because they are representative of a systemic failure where the guidance or safely recommendations were not followed or were inadequate. This can be an indicator that there is a weakness in the systems that were employed by the organisation.
NHS guidance published last year introduced a change in how the NHS responds to patient safety incidents. The ‘Revised Never Event policy and framework’ can be found on the NHS web site here https://tinyurl.com/mpzcrn8w
What will happen if a Never Event occurs?
You should be notified by the NHS where this has happened. The NHS is required to undertake an investigation into what happened and how to stop it occurring again. Patients and families should be involved in the process.
Can I make a claim?
Yes, it may be possible to make a claim and even if you have not been officially notified of an event but feel you have still been a victim of a never event.
If you feel you may need to make a medical negligence claim, or to speak to a member of the Medical Negligence team for advice, please call us on 01423 564551 or fill in our contact form and one of the team will call you back.
• Review your situation to see if you have a claim
• Determine if your case is suitable for a No Win No Fee agreement
• Determine the next steps to be taken
Personal Injury Solicitor
For further information, click here
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