‘Never events’ in dentistry

15th May 2018

Written by Hannah Ashcroft, medical negligence solicitor at Fletchers. 

Medical negligence lawyers have long been familiar with the concept of ‘never events’, namely incidents that simply should not occur but for the care delivered falling below the standard of a responsible medical practitioner. Medical never events have been agreed and published by the NHS for years; examples include surgery on the wrong site, scalding of patients and retention of foreign objects following a procedure. In such cases there is rarely a dispute over breach of duty, which allows us as Claimant lawyers to work with the Defendant NHS Trusts to achieve a resolution for injured patients as quickly as possible.

Until recently there had been no such agreement or consensus on ‘never events’ in dentistry. Consequently, dental claims have often been unnecessarily prolonged by arguments over liability which has led to increased costs and avoidable delays in compensating the injured party. This can have a huge impact on Claimants as dental negligence often results in a requirement for private dental treatment to be undertaken. Private dental treatment is a cost which many injured Claimants are unable to fund themselves and are therefore dependent upon liability being resolved and compensation being recovered to allow them to undergo the necessary treatment and move on with their lives.

The British Dental Journal has recently published an article identifying 15 never events in dentistry based on international expert consensus.

The 15 never events identified are as follows

  1. Breaking the patient’s jaw
  2. Pulling out the wrong tooth
  3. Treating the wrong patient
  4. Injecting the wrong anaesthetic
  5. Injuring the patient’s eye, due to the omission of appropriate eye protection
  6. Leaving foreign objects behind in the patient after surgical procedures
  7. Inhalation by patient of ‘foreign objects’
  8. Failing to sterilise instruments
  9. Failure to register patient’s history of allergies to medication
  10. Use of dental material in a patient with known history of allergy to the dental material used
  11. Prescription of a drug to a patient with a known allergy to the drug
  12. Reusing disposable items instead of throwing them away
  13. Failure to refer for oral cancer assessment after patient’s lesions do not heal after 2 weeks of receiving treatment
  14. Failure to implement oral cancer screening as part of the routine assessments
  15. Prescribing incorrect medication to children

I am pleased that the dentistry industry has now recognised the need for industry wide standards and consistent approaches which I trust will improve patient care. I hope that this not only leads to a reduction in ‘never event’ incidents taking place, but also that the list enables claims arising out of such incidents to be resolved much quicker and at a more proportionate cost than they currently are.

Categories

Archives

Further Reading…

Breast screen error could have been found earlier

25th May 2018

Professor Peter Sasieni is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary University of London has written an open letter to the Lancet expressing concerns that the error with regards to breast cancer screening patients age 60-70 may have extended as far back as 2004/5 rather than just 2009.

GDPR: The Final Countdown

24th May 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force tomorrow, on 25th May 2018.

Take the first step now, you have nothing to lose

  • Top Ranked Leading Individual - Chambers UK 2016
  • The Sunday Times Top 100 - Best Companies To Work For 2016
  • The Lawyer UK200 - Listed Firm 2015
  • The Law Society - Clinical Negligence
  • The Legal 500 - Leading Firm 2015
  • The Investors In People Awards 2016 - Winner
  • Lexcel - Excellence in Legal Practice Management and Client Care
  • IIP - Investors in People
  • sia - Spinal Injuries Association
  • MASS - Motor Accident Solicitors Society
  • Apil - Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Headway - The Brain Injury Association
  • avma - Action Against Medical Accidents
  • Backup Trust - Transforming Lives After Spinal Cord Injury
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Cyber Essentials
Any Questions?

We know that making a claim can raise a few questions, here are some of the ones we get asked most often.

Read our FAQs

Contact Details
Phone
03300 080 321
Email
enquiry@fs.co.uk
Southport
Dukes House, 34 Hoghton Street, Southport, PR9 0PU
Manchester
St James's Tower, 7 Charlotte Street, Manchester, M1 4DZ
Map of the UK