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"Never Events" is a term for preventable medical errors or medical mistakes that should never happen.

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You've heard the statistics - nearly 98,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors.

But you've probably never heard the term "never events" - I know I had not.  Hospitals, HMOs and healthcare corporations often have morbidity and mortality conferences to review whether, in their view, a doctor or nurse committed medical malpractice or the medical care fell below the standard of care.  

But the term "never events" refers to medical mistakes that are preventable and should never happen.  Medication errors, communication errors, delays in examining a patient, not recognizing signs and symptoms of a life threatening process - all can be never events.  

And in the healthcare debate, some healthcare corporations, HMOs and hospitals think they shouldn't be accountable to patients injured or killed due to "never events."  What if they focused their attention and resources on preventing never events?  Would patients be safer?  Would health care costs decrease?   Of course they would. 

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