The term “never event,” was coined in 2001 and is used to describe particularly shocking medical mistakes

These mistakes, just as they are described, should NEVER happen. They are mistakes that are so reckless and dangerous that even the smallest likelihood of their possibility is unacceptable. It is estimated that “never events” occur as many as 4,000 times per year.

Health care professionals have an obligation to patients with a certain standard of care.  Deviating from this standard of care is considered negligence. ‘Never events” are so far outside of the standard of acceptable care that health care professionals understand the need to eliminate them entirely.

“Never events” fall into at least one of the following categories:

1. Surgical Events

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Surgery performed on the wrong patient
  • Wrong surgery performed
  • Objects left inside patient after surgery

2. Product or Device Events

  • The use of contaminated drugs or devices
  • Misuse of a device on a patient

3. Patient Protection Events

  • Discharge of a patient to an unauthorized person
  • Patient disappearance
  • Patient self-harm, including suicide and attempted suicide while under care

4. Care Management Events

  • Medication errors
  • Unsafe administration of blood
  • Death of mother in low-risk pregnancy
  • Death of the newborn in a low-risk pregnancy
  • Use of wrong sperm or egg in artificial insemination
  • Patient falls while under care
  • Serious bed sores in patient while under care
  • Irreparable loss of biological specimen
  • Failure to follow-up or communicate test results of any kind

 5. Environmental Events

  • Electric shocks while under care
  • Malfunction or contamination of oxygen lines
  • Burn injuries while under care
  • Injury from use of restraints or derails while under care

6. Radiologic Events

  • Metallic objects in the MRI area

7. Criminal Events 

  • Impersonation of a physician or healthcare professional
  • Kidnapping of a patient
  • Sexual abuse of a patient
  • Physical assault

It is important to note that these “never events” are not automatically considered medical malpractice just because they are so reprehensible.

In order to pursue a claim for malpractice, the patient has to suffer some injury or damages as the result of a “never event.” In recent years, it has been found that 59% of those who were the victim of a “never event” suffered temporary injury, while 33% suffered permanent injury, and tragically, 7% of those who experienced a “never event” died.

A better understanding of “never events” will help you to recognize red flags, so you can protect yourself and those you love from becoming a victim. However, if you or someone you know suffered a “never event” as the result of someone else’s mistake, you have to call me now at 1 (877) 944-4373.

I will meet with you at a time a place that is convenient for you to discuss your injury. I will help you understand your rights. As your Medical Malpractice lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over 34 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “ClevelandAkron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.


Article Name
What is a Never Event?
Never events; medical care that is so agregious it physically makes me ill. The details of never event case are so beyond the medical negligence spectrum it is almost unbelievable. Imagine a doctor amputating the wrong leg, or removing a gallbladder from a patient needing a kidney transplant. These mistakes do not seem possible, but in fact they occur far more than we can ever fathom. It is my obligation as a medical negligence attorney to ensure Never Events.... NEVER, EVER HAPPEN TO ANYONE ELSE!
Blog Medical Malpractice