What happened to you should never have happened. Whether your hospital stay was because of a routine procedure or major surgery, the low standard of care resulted in more pain and suffering than before. You may have required a longer hospitalization, more surgeries or powerful pain medication.
Perhaps you have repeated this to yourself on many occasions since the incident: This should never have happened. You are right. Even hospitals agree with you. In fact, they call these types of mistakes "never events." A few examples of a never event include:
- Leaving sponges, surgical instruments or other objects in your body after surgery
- Improperly administering medication (wrong medicine, wrong dose, etc.)
- Failing to supervise you to prevent injuries from falls, burns etc.
- Performing the wrong surgery on you or on the wrong part of your body
- Giving you incompatible blood
Although such events are rare, if you or a loved one are the victim of a never event, chances are good that you were seriously injured or came close to losing your life.
Protocol following a never event
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has urged hospitals to establish a set of guidelines in the unlikely event that a medical professional should make a costly mistake.
Nevertheless, in 2015, a survey across the country revealed that one in five hospitals has no policy in place for dealing with serious medical mistakes. In Arizona, only 10 percent of hospitals have a policy for the aftermath of a never event. The CMC suggests that such a policy contain these best practices:
- Issue an apology to the patient or, if the event caused the death of the patient, to the patient's family.
- Waive all costs related to the procedure.
- Make sure the patient, family and all those involved in the event receive a copy of the hospital's policy if they ask for it.
- Report the incident to an independent agency, such as a patient safety organization or a state agency for error reporting.
- Analyze the incident to determine the root cause.
This last item may be of vital importance since from it, hospitals learn where the errors originate and how to avoid them in the future.
Getting back your quality of life
Your injury or illness from a hospital mistake may be costing you dearly. You may be missing work and using up your own precious resources to deal with the pain and suffering.
You do not have to face these circumstances alone. By discussing your case with an attorney, you may begin to consider the possibility of recovering compensation for your injuries. Before you settle with an insurance adjuster, allow a dedicated lawyer to review your case and advocate for your rights.