Never Events: Was Your Medical Mishap One Of These?

It’s always distressing when you suffer an accident or injury through the course of a medical procedure. We trust that doctors, nurses and surgeons will do their best to treat us and, of course, in most cases they do. That said, sometimes things do go wrong and, when it comes to medical negligence, there is a special category called Never Events.

Never Events: hospital bed in private hospital room

Photo by Martha Dominguez on Unsplash

Most people will have never of heard of Never Events, so you may be wondering what they are.  They are basically medical mistakes that would never happen if procedures are correctly followed.

What Are Never Events?

The NHS defines Never Events as ‘serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented.’

They publish a list of NHS Never Events periodically, which includes:

Wrong site surgery

This is when a surgical procedure is carried out in the wrong place. It could be the wrong knee, the wrong arm, or even the wrong patient. It can be detected any time after the start of the operation and may mean the patient having to undergo additional surgery in the correct place.

Retained instrument postoperative

This is when instruments or swabs that should have been removed are left in a patient after an operation. The patient can suffer complications and might need more invasive surgery to remove what has been left.

Wrong route administration of chemotherapy

This is exactly what it says, chemotherapy administered through the wrong route.

Wrong implant/prosthesis

This is where the wrong knee implant is used, or the wrong lens in the eyes, for example. This can cause discomfort for the patient and mean they have to have the procedure repeated.

There are several more items on the list that is overseen and any changes made by a body known as NHS Improvement. They publish data on Never Events, the numbers of which appear to be reducing. There were 442 reported in 2015/2016 and 380 in 2016/2017.

More safety guidelines are being established regularly, and more procedures added to the NHS list of Never Events. Different areas are being added, and as mistakes are made, they are investigated to see if they need to be part of this group of incidents that medical negligence claims can be made for.

Making Medical Negligence Claims UK for Never Events

Never Events would not happen if the guidelines and procedures laid down by the NHS were followed at all times. The scalding of patients, falls from poorly restricted windows, and chest or neck entrapment in bed rails are all preventable. These are incidents that should not have taken place, and the patients concerned should not have been injured through no fault of their own. Their suffering from any injuries sustained can be worse than the original reason for having treatment.

If you have been the victim of a Never Event, you may be looking for the best medical negligence solicitors to help you with your compensation claim. They will need to understand the rules for making a Never Event claim for medical malpractice, as they are as complicated as the process of claiming. Firms such as The Medical Negligence Experts deal with these types of medical negligence claims on a no win no fee basis, and are often able to help you to claim any compensation you are due. The Medical Negligence Experts also offer a free advice line for potential customers who want to find out if their claim is worth pursuing.

Never Events: surgeons operating in theatre

Not All Never Events Cause An Injury

Not all Never Events will result in an injury, and with no injury, there is no medical negligence claim to make.  The NHS complaints procedure will listen to the problem, and try to make sure that any issues are corrected, as the next patient might not be as fortunate as you. Medical negligence solicitors will try to establish who was at fault, as knowing this is an important part of any claim and this information will be needed to move forward. It could be the fault of the surgeon that operated or the nurses that should have been more vigilant. It could be the anaesthetist that made a mistake, but whoever it is, they need to be employed by the NHS for a claim to be made for an NHS Never Event.

As soon as you are aware that the Never Event is causing you a problem, you should get in touch with medical negligence lawyers, as there is a three-year time limit on making your claim for medical negligence UK. This is only different if the injured party is mentally incapacitated or a child at the time of the incident. In the case of a child, they have three years from their 18th birthday to start legal proceedings, as long as no one made a claim on their behalf at the time.

Medical negligence claims can be complex, confusing, and time-consuming, which is why you want experts on your side. They will know how to deal with the NHS, and how to best present your claim to give it the best chance of success.

From the NHS point of view, they are hoping that by publishing guidelines on how to prevent Never Events, the numbers will continue to decline. The hope is that each year when they show their data, although the list is getting longer, the number of patients injured will be lower.

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8 Comments on "Never Events: Was Your Medical Mishap One Of These?"

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I’ve never heard of this before, I really hope it never happens to me or someone I love.


This is quite scary! I’ve never heard of it before if I’m honest though x


Oh gosh these occurrences sound awful, I hope that never happens to me ! xxx


How the hell do you operate on the wrong body part?? This is crazy, but not surprising given how overwork NHS staff are.


Scary stuff, I suppose I never really thought of these events as “real”. You see them on tv and in movies but I suppose you then forget that they actually happen to people occasionally!


Glad to have come across this post, as I’ve come to know about a lot of things through this. Fortunately, I haven’t have to face any of these events


Medical negligence is such a scary thing. My dad could have died after both his doctor and the hospital failed to notice he’d had at least one stroke! It was 3 weeks after he told them he thought he was having one when he finally got diagnosed. And by then it was too late to save his left side. He can’t move anything from the waist up on there 🙁

Louise x


Unfortunately mistakes happen, and it’s terrible when it’s a major mishap like one of these!