Serious Reportable Events (SREs)

A Serious Reportable Event (SRE) is any occurrence in healthcare that results in death, serious injury or significant harm to patients. SREs are events that should never occur but must be reported to the appropriate authority.

Serious reportable events (SREs) are those events that occur in the health care setting resulting in death, serious injury, or significant harm to patients. Defined by the National Quality Forum (NQF), they are also known as “never events” because they should never happen in health care facilities.

SREs were first defined by the NQF in 2002 with an original list of 27 SREs in six hospital settings. Since that time, the list has been expanded to encompass a greater range of healthcare settings including:

  • Surgical or Invasive Procedure Events
  • Product or Device Events
  • Patient Protection Events
  • Care Management Events
  • Environmental Events
  • Radiologic Events
  • Potential Criminal Events

The list of possible SREs is currently classified into seven categories but includes clinical settings such as:

  • office-based practices
  • ambulatory surgery centers
  • skilled nursing facilities
  • hospitals

They are presented so that policies and procedures can be taken to improve patient safety and reduce such medical errors.

Surgical Events

  • Surgery or other invasive procedure performed on the wrong site
  • Surgery or other invasive procedure on the wrong patient
  • Wrong surgical or other invasive procedure performed on a patient
  • Unintended retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery or other invasive procedure
  • Intraoperative or immediately postoperative/postprocedure death in an ASA Class I patient

Product or Device Events

  • Patient death or serious injury associated with the use of contaminated drugs, devices, or biologics provided by the healthcare setting
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with the use or function of a device in patient care, in which the device is used or functions other than as intended
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with intravascular air embolism that occurs while being cared for in a healthcare setting

Patient Protection Events

  • Discharge or release of a patient/resident of any age (including infants), who is unable to make decisions, to other than an authorized person
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with patient elopement (disappearance or leaving without permission)
  • Patient suicide, attempted suicide, or self-harm that results in serious injury, while being cared for in a healthcare setting

Care Management Events

  • Patient death or serious injury associated with a medication error (e.g., errors involving the wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong patient, wrong time, wrong rate, wrong preparation, or wrong route of administration)
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with unsafe administration of blood products
  • Maternal death or serious injury associated with labor or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy while being cared for in a healthcare setting
  • Death or serious injury of a neonate associated with labor or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with a fall while being cared for in a healthcare setting
  • Any Stage 3, Stage 4, and unstageable pressure ulcers acquired after admission/presentation to a healthcare setting
  • Artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or wrong egg
  • Patient death or serious injury resulting from the irretrievable loss of an irreplaceable biological specimen
  • Patient death or serious injury resulting from failure to follow up or communicate laboratory, pathology, or radiology test results
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with a fall while being cared for in a healthcare setting

Environmental Events

  • Patient or staff death or serious injury associated with an electric shock in the course of a patient care process in a healthcare setting
  • Any incident in which systems designated for oxygen or other gas to be delivered to a patient contains no gas, the wrong gas, or are contaminated by toxic substances
  • Patient or staff death or serious injury associated with a burn incurred from any source in the course of a patient care process in a healthcare setting
  • Patient death or serious injury associated with the use of physical restraints or bedrails while being cared for in a healthcare setting

Radiologic Events

  • Death or serious injury of a patient or staff associated with the introduction of a metallic object into the MRI area

Criminal Events

  • Any instance of care ordered by or provided by someone impersonating a physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other licensed healthcare provider
  • Abduction of a patient of any age
  • Sexual abuse/assault on a patient or staff member within or on the grounds of a healthcare setting
  • Death or serious injury of a patient or staff member resulting from a physical assault (i.e., battery) that occurs within or on the grounds of a healthcare setting

The National Quality Forum established the SRE list to establish consensus amongst participants in the health care system including consumers, providers, researchers, purchasers and other stakeholders. Use of the standards is voluntary for each healthcare facility or organization but have been adopted by a number of state agencies and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NQF recommends a national state-based reporting system and over half of all states require licensed health care facilities to participate in reporting.

Seeking Assistance for an SRE

As of October 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) stated that payment for many complications deemed preventable would be reduced for healthcare facilities because they are on the NQF’s SRE list and should “never” occur. In addition to the SREs, the NQF also created advisements of 30 safe practices in the healthcare system which includes support for a victim’s right to seek legal compensation when a SRE’s occur.

As SREs are considered “never events”, when an SRE does occur, victims must seek legal assistance from qualified professional attorneys that are experienced in medical malpractice including medical mistakes (or medical errors) and resulting injuries, disability or death.

Health care facilities are required to maintain documentation concerning each instance of an SRE. As a victim, you are entitled to receive such information. The personal injury lawyers at Seeger Weiss LLP are experienced at helping victims obtain such information and navigate through the legal system when an SRE has caused harm.

People or loved ones of those who have experienced a negative event at a health care facility, which is similar to the SRE listed occurrences and resulted in serious harm or injury should seek legal advice. Contact Seeger Weiss,  complete our free case evaluation form or call (888) 611-0458 for more information.

Sources:

FREE CASE EVALUATION

Since its establishment in 1999, Seeger Weiss has led some of the most complex and high-profile litigations in the U.S.