On the one hand, any situation in which a health care provider makes a mistake and a patient suffers harm should never happen and might be understood as a “never event.” On the other hand, some types of medical errors are so damaging and egregious that we need different terminology to describe them. This is from where the term “never event” arises.
According to the Patient Safety Network and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a “never event” is a “reference to particularly shocking medical errors—such as wrong-site surgery—that should never occur.” As the AHRQ clarifies, since the term’s inception in 2001 by a medical doctor and former CEO of the National Quality Forum, the “term’s use has expanded to signify adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable.”
If you or somebody you love experienced harm due to a never event, it is important to seek help from a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney. We can provide you with more information about “never event” medical malpractice claims in Upstate New York.
Defining “Never Events” in Health Care
Some types of “never events” are more common than others, but these examples of medical malpractice can be particularly devastating. The Patient Safety Network and AHRQ identify the following as some common forms of “never events” that can result in disabling and fatal injuries to patients:
- Wrong-site surgery performed on the wrong body part;
- A surgical procedure performed on the wrong patient;
- Retention of a foreign object inside a patient after a surgical procedure;
- Contaminated medical devices resulted in serious patient injury or death;
- Use of a medical device for a function other than what it was intended to be used for;
- Intravascular air embolism in a health care setting;
- Unsafe administration of blood products;
- Maternal or neonatal death in a low-risk pregnant;
- Artificial insemination with the wrong egg or wrong sperm donor;
- Failure to communicate life-threatening test results;
- Contamination of oxygen line with toxic substance;
- Introduction of a metallic object into an MRI area; and/or
- Sexual abuse or sexual assault of a patient in a health care setting.
Statute of Limitations for a “Never Event” Lawsuit in Syracuse
How much time will you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit following injury from a “never event”? Under New York law, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, in general, is two years and six months (or 30 months total) from the date of the medical error that caused the patient’s injury. However, there are some types of medical malpractice claims in which the statute of limitations can be tolled (or paused), including a common type of “never event” case.
Patients may have more than two years and six months to file a medical malpractice claim in cases of a delayed diagnosis, as well as in situations where a foreign object was left inside their body and they were not able to reasonably discover it until time had passed. According to New York law, “where the action is based upon the discovery of a foreign object in the body of the patient, the action may be commenced within one year of the date of such discovery or of the date of discovery of facts which would reasonably lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier.”
In other words, if you have experienced a surgical error “never event” that resulted in a foreign object such as a towel or sponge being left inside the body during a surgical procedure, you may have additional time to file your lawsuit. As soon as you learn that you were harmed by a medical error, seek advice from a medical negligence attorney. An experienced attorney can assess your case and ensure that you file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
Medical malpractice can take many different forms, and in some circumstances, a health care provider’s mistake may not even result in a patient’s injury. Yet on the opposite end of the spectrum, certain types of health care provider errors can be devastating and deadly, which is where “never events” tend to fall.
If you or somebody you love suffered a serious injury because of a “never event” arising out of medical negligence, it is critical to seek help with your claim from a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer. Our firm has years of experience representing injured patients and their families in Upstate New York. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP for more information about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Syracuse.