Frischman & Rizza

never event
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania never event medical malpractice attorneys Craig Frischman & Bernard Rizza

Quick Facts


In December of 2012, Johns Hopkins University released a Report identifying several categories of completely preventable medical mistakes known as “Never Events.”  A Never Event is an inexcusable error that never should occur.

Types of "Never Events"

The following categories of shocking, extreme and indefensible Never Events include:

  • Wrong Site Surgeries

    This occurs when a surgeon operates on the wrong part of the patient’s body. For example, if a patient is scheduled for a right knee replacement and the surgeon operates on the left knee.

  • Patient Protection

    This occurs when a patient who is unable to care for himself/herself is released to someone other than an authorized person and the patient is subsequently injured, disabled or even dies.

  • Wrong Surgery is Performed

    This occurs when a surgeon performs the wrong surgery on a patient. For example, a patient is scheduled for a knee replacement and the surgeon performs a hip replacement.

  • Environmental

    These events include electrical shock, oxygen lines that contain no gas or the wrong gas, burn injuries, and the use of bed restraints that result in serious patient injury or death.

  • Retained Foreign Object

    This occurs when a surgical instrument, a towel or a sponge, is left inside the patient’s body.

  • Radiologic

    This occurs when a metal object is introduced into the MRI area and results in patient injury.

  • Patient Care Management

    This occurs when the wrong type of medication or blood product is administered and causes harm to the patient.

  • Criminal

    This occurs when medical treatment is provided by someone who is impersonating a healthcare professional, when a patient is abducted or when a patient is physically or sexually abused.

Injured due to a surgical never event?

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Safety Measures To Prevent Never Events

Although human error can always occur, the following safety measures can reduce Never Events from occurring:

  • Operating Room Time Outs – prior to beginning surgery confirmation as to the patient and planned procedure is obtained.
  • Performing accurate counts before and after a surgical procedure of the surgical tools and sponges.
  • Marking the correct site of the surgical procedure.
  • Instituting policies and procedures for communication among the surgical team.


Unfortunately, Never Events are not as rare as one may think.  According to Johns Hopkins University, an estimated 80,000 Never Events occurred in US hospitals between 1990 and 2010.  During this time period:

  • The wrong surgical procedure was performed on patients an estimated 20 times per week.
  • The wrong body part was operated on by surgeons an estimated 20 times per week.
  • A foreign object, such as a surgical instrument, a surgical towel or a surgical sponge was left in patients an estimated 40 times per week.

Patients between 40-49 were the most vulnerable for a Never Event.  Also, the most Never Event mistakes were made by surgeons less than 60 years old.

Sadly, these Never Events continue to occur today at the rate of approximately 4,000 new cases each year.  These lapses in medical care which are unambiguous, preventable and clearly identifiable represent a major healthcare quality problem that causes needless injury and millions of dollars in otherwise unnecessary medical care each year.

Again, “Never Events” are totally preventable medical mistakes. If you or a loved one has suffered a “Never Event,” call our knowledgeable and experienced office today.

In Western PA Since 1992

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