You count on your health care providers to keep you healthy, and to treat your illnesses and medical conditions with skill and care. Unfortunately, doctors and other medical professionals don't always live up to that expectation. Medical malpractice happens in many different ways, but some types of malpractice are so harmful and so avoidable that they have been deemed "never events."
Nearly 20 years ago, a list of never events was developed to increase awareness and begin working on safety procedures to prevent these incidents. The list has been updated over time, and currently includes events in seven categories.
There is just one identified radiologic never event: Death or serious injury of a patient or staff member associated with the introduction of a metallic object into the MRI area.
As the name suggests, a never event is a medical error that should never occur. Still, they happen often enough that they inspire significant study. One such study found that more than 4,000 surgical never events occur in the average year. Another found that more than 70% of never events reported in a single year were fatal.
Note that these events are classified as never events only when they result in serious harm. And, not every never event is reported. So, for instance, medication errors are likely significantly more common than the number reported above, because most medication errors won’t have serious enough consequences to be reported. However, in at least 32 cases in that one year, patients suffered serious medical harm or died as a result of medication errors.
A physician or health care facility is required to provide treatment in accordance with the standard of care for your circumstances. Since never events are events that theoretically should not be possible if the doctor or other healthcare provider was complying with the standard of care, these events nearly always constitute medical malpractice. That means that if you were harmed by a never event, or lost a loved one to a never event, you are likely entitled to compensation. However, pursuing a medical malpractice claim in South Carolina is challenging.
Unlike other types of negligence cases, medical malpractice is determined by the providers’ failure to adhere to a professional standard. Because that professional standard and what types of treatment fulfill it are outside the knowledge of the general public, an expert witness is required to establish that the medical provider breached their duty of care to the patient. If you believe that you have a claim due to a medical never event, your best first step is to speak with an experienced Charleston medical malpractice attorney right away.
Attorney Frank Hartman has dedicated his career to helping people who have been injured through someone else's negligence. He has the knowledge and experience necessary to work with medical experts to build the strongest possible case on your behalf. To learn more about how he can help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries, call 843-300-7600 or fill out the contact form on this page.