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"Never events" happen to Missouri patients surprisingly often

Each year, the regulator in charge of making sure insurance companies in the state puts out a report about medical malpractice in Missouri. This report is a treasure trove of information and can give lot of insight about the state of medical malpractice in Missouri. It also arguably demonstrates that malpractice carriers are not losing revenue on this type of insurance, as many proponents of medical malpractice reform often suggest.

One thing of interest in this most recent report is that the regulator has begun tracking and reporting on so-called "never events" in Missouri. As the name implies, a never event should never happen if a doctor or a hospital is practicing medicine competently and according to both the law and professional norms.

In other words, the occurrence of a never event almost always suggests that a patient has a valid malpractice claim. In other cases, while it may be hard to truly identify an outcome as a "never event," the circumstances suggest that professional negligence is a real possibility.

Interestingly, the most frequently occurring never event involved patient falls, with over 1,000 claims involving falls being closed out between 2005 and 2017. The average payout for these claims was almost $131,000. On the other hand, while there were far fewer of them, the average payout for claims related to catastrophic birth injuries were the highest of all types of never events. The average claim paid for the death of a healthy mother after a childbirth was almost $530,000, while the death of a seemingly healthy newborn was over $1 million. Patients in the Kansas City area who have either been victims of a never event themselves or who have a loved one who has been a victim of a never event may have legal options available to them.

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