I recently came across an article in the Salt Lake Tribune detailing a study about “Never Events”, those serious medical errors occurring in Utah hospitals that “are never supposed to happen”. These kinds of studies are showing up in hospitals across the country and the trend is very disturbing. In an era where people’s access to the civil justice system is being restricted or prevented, where compensation for serious injury or death is being capped by lawmakers at artificially low levels, serious injury and death caused by medical neglect is continuing to occur, unchecked, at an alarming rate.
In Utah, the study reflected “Never Events” from October 2001 to April 2007. During that time, there were 219 such events. 47% of these events resulted in death; 21% resulted in a major loss of body function; 25% involved wrong site surgeries, and 3% resulted in suicide.
Hospitals and doctors can do remarkable things for their patients; they save lives and cure illnesses every day, in hospitals and clinics all over the country. However, they can also make mistakes, serious ones, and making them accountable for those mistakes will make them more careful, almost always, and help prevent them from reoccurring. That is a good thing, isn’t it? So, the next time you hear someone say “junk” or “frivolous” in front of the word “lawsuit”, show him the referenced article. People are getting scarred, maimed, and, even killed by preventable medical neglect; when they or their loved ones sue for their damages or loss, they are chastised by their neighbors and restricted by the acts of their own government. Seeking redress for serious injuries or death is not a “frivolous” endeavor. We are all one incident or life-changing event from being the next victim of this type of unfortunate occurrence.
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