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“Never Events” and the Injuries They Can Cause

By Associate Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

I recently saw some reports that Derriford hospital in Plymouth had published details of three so-called “never events.” These included surgery on the wrong part of the body, and an incident in which a swab was retained inside a patient’s body. 

Unfortunately, the reported cases at Derriford Hospital are not isolated incidents confined to a single hospital Trust. I recently, successfully, concluded a retained swab claim against a different hospital Trust where my client received £130,000 in compensation as a result of the admitted negligent medical treatment she received.

Retained swabs can cause very significant internal injuries if the mistake is not identified quickly. My client suffered dreadful injuries due to the extent of the infection caused by the retained swab which was left unidentified in her abdomen for a number of months.

As a result of the spread of infection, she was left with fertility problems, a temporary stoma, extensive abdominal scarring as well as a psychiatric injury.

The NHS describe “Never events” as “serious largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures had been implemented”.

The list of “never events” is updated every year and includes the following, in addition to those reported by Derriford Hospital:

  • Wrong site implant/prosthesis
  • Retained foreign object
  • Wrong route administration of medication
  • Overdose of insulin
  • Misplaced nasogastric or orogastric tubes

The full list can be found on the NHS England website here.

“Never events” are just that, events that should never happen in hospitals, due to the simple guidance and safety measures that should be in place to prevent such incidents from occurring.

“Never events” are an issue that crops up every year and we have written several blogs on the subject in the past, such as the example here.

The impact of negligent medical treatment has a huge impact on an individual and their family. I hope that the patients in Plymouth, going through a similar experience to that of my client, find a successful conclusion to their horrific experience and that Derriford Hospital uses these cases to learn from their mistakes and make changes to their policies and guidelines to ensure that they “never” happen again.

Charlotte Moore is a specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester, who handles claims arising from deaths and injury following negligent medical treatment.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for anyone suffering from the psychological effects of clinical and medical negligence. Call our expert Clinical Negligence Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online.

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