When you rely on a Georgia physician, surgeon, nurse or other medical worker for health care and treatment, you expect each licensed or certified worker to adhere to industry protocol and safety regulations. Guidelines are in place to help keep you safe as a patient. If one or more workers are negligent, you might possibly wind up in worse condition than you were in to start. In fact, “never events” cause serious injuries to hospital patients in this state and elsewhere every year.
A never event is something that happens that may result in patient injury, which should not happen because it is easily preventable. For instance, if you’re scheduled for surgery, and the surgeon operates on the wrong body part, it would constitute a never event. You’re not responsible for making sure medical workers do their jobs right. If a doctor, nurse or surgeon is negligent, however, you might be the one who suffers serious injury.
Be aware of these never event categories
When you’re a medical patient, your safety is a top priority. If you’re scheduled for surgery, for instance, your medical team is responsible for making sure you are the correct patient for the specific procedure that the surgeon is preparing to perform. Never events often involve surgical errors, but such events are not isolated to surgery issues. The following list shows additional categories of never events that may cause you injury:
- Devices and products: Your care or treatment plan might necessitate using oxygen equipment or other medical devices or products. It is a requirement that medical team members make sure such devices are working properly, and they must also be properly trained in how to use them.
- Care management: When you need medical care, you trust that your physician will perform an appropriate examination, make a proper diagnosis or recommend specialty consultation if needed and otherwise provide proper care and treatment for your specific health issues.
- Environmental issues: This category also includes events that place you at risk for injury regarding use of oxygen or other gases, as well as issues pertaining to bed rail safety, toxic substances or other issues having to do with the hospital setting.
- Procedural events: Surgical errors would be part of this never event category, as well as administration of anesthesia, checking vital signs or any other procedure a medical team member performs in conjunction with your care.
It’s possible that the never event that takes place while you’re under the care of a licensed medical team may fall under more than one of the categories mentioned here. Basic safety measures are supposed to help your medical team avoid causing you injury. Your surgeon, for instance, should never leave a foreign object inside your body after an operation, although this is a common type of never event that occurs in hospitals throughout the country.
What to do when substandard care results in injury
Doctors, nurses, surgeons and other medical workers are not perfect. Risk of human error is always an inherent element of the care and treatment you receive at a Georgia hospital or any other medical facility. There are certain events, however, that you can expect to never happen, such as a surgeon performing surgery on the wrong body part or a nurse giving you medication intended for another patient.
Most hospitals have patient advocates on staff who can act on your behalf to bring a never event or other problem issue to the attention of administrators. Never events that result in patient injury often prompt litigation, as well, when recovering patients seek compensation for damages against the person or people whose negligence was responsible for their injuries.