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Medical Negligence
Never Events

'Never Events'

"Never events" are serious incidents that should not occur in a healthcare setting. Such incidents are largely preventable, and will not happen if the correct procedures are implemented. If medical professionals fails to meet acceptable standards of care and a "never event" does arise, there could be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

The "Never Event" List

"Never events" can be defined as 'serious patient safety incidents that should not occur if preventative measures have been put in place'. The concept was first introduced in the UK in 2009, when the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) published a list for all organisations providing NHS care to follow. This list has been continually amended and added to, ensuring it remains up-to-date with our health service.

In February 2011, NICE published a revised "never event" list for use in the NHS in 2011/2011. The list contains a total of 25 incidents that should not occur, making it most comprehensive it ever has been before. Originally there were only eight "never events", all of which have been retained in the current list, which reads as follows:-


  • Wrong site surgery
  • Wrong implant/prosthesis
  • Retained foreign object post-operation

Medication Events

  • Wrongly prepared high-risk injectable medication
  • Maladministration of potassium-containing solutions
  • Wrong route administration of chemotherapy
  • Wrong route administration of oral/enteral treatment
  • Intravenous administration of epidural medication
  • Maladministration of Insulin
  • Overdose of midazolam during conscious sedation
  • Opioid overdose of an opioid-na´ve patient
  • Inappropriate administration of daily oral methotrexate

Mental Health

  • Suicide using non-collapsible rails
  • Escape of a transferred prisoner

General Healthcare

  • Falls from unrestricted windows
  • Entrapment in bedrails
  • Transfusion of ABO-incompatible blood components
  • Transplantation of ABO or HLA-incompatible organs
  • Misplaced naso- or oro-gastric tubes
  • Wrong gas administration
  • Failure to monitor and respond to oxygen saturation
  • Air embolism
  • Misidentification of patients
  • Severe scalding of patients


  • Maternal death due to post partum haemorrhage after elective caesarean section

Never Events and Medical Negligence Claims

If you or a loved one has suffered from a "never event" included in the aforementioned list, you should seek expert legal advice without delay. That is because "never events" should not, by their very definition, ever happen. Therefore when such an incident does occur, questions needed to be raised over whether or not the level of care fell below an acceptable standard, thereby causing the "never event" to occur.

If it is found that you were indeed the victim of substandard medical care, you could be in a position to make a medical negligence claim.

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