What Are the Most Common Medical Errors?

What Are the Most Common Medical Errors?

It's not something people want to think about, but mistakes can happen in the medical world. Even the world's best hospitals are fallible from errors that lead to serious injuries or even death. 

Statistics from the United States evidences this. Only heart disease and cancer sit above medical errors as the country's leading cause of death. The research, conducted by John Hopkins, estimated that it results in more than 250,000 people losing their lives each year.

What Are the Most Common Medical Errors?

So why do these medical errors occur? Plus, what are the most common cases in terms of errors? This article will explore the answers. 

What causes medical errors? 

When it comes to medical malpractice taking place, below are a few of the main reasons why this is the case: 

  • Human error
  • Fatigue
  • Inexperience
  • User error

When you factor in the long and mentally tiring shifts doctors work, fatigue is an understandable problem. A new doctor could be inexperienced if they are dealing with new diagnostic tools, for instance, while general human error is a problem in all industries. A user error can be problematic whenever new systems and software are incorporated. 

Five common medical errors 

As you would expect, many medical mistakes take place in a professional setting. There are some; however, that appear more often than others. Below are five of the most common medical errors. 

  • Misdiagnosis: Arguably, the most prevalent error is misdiagnosis. This can be problematic as it can lead to a patient undergoing harmful or unnecessary treatment. Additionally, their suffering can be prolonged as their true illness is not detected – or treated – straight away. 
  • Delayed diagnosis: While it might not seem as bad, delayed diagnosis can sit on the same level as misdiagnosis in terms of how damaging it can be. A delayed diagnosis could result in a patient not receiving the treatment they require in a timely fashion, and this can be fatal if they are dealing with a serious condition. 
  • Infection: Due to hospitals' nature, infections are always going to be a potential risk for those within the building. The good news is most hospital infections do not fall within the serious category and can be treated with relative ease. Nevertheless, other diseases can be a lot more serious for those that are infected.
  • Medication error: Whether it is prescribing the incorrect drugs or the wrong dose, medication errors are a common mistake. Those who prescribe medicine have to take great care in understanding a patient's allergies and medical history. They also have to avoid drug combinations that can be potentially harmful. 
  • Bad medical devices: Sometimes, it is not a human error that leads to a medical mistake. It can be due to a defective or malfunctioning tool. Everything from hernia mesh to IVC blood clot filters have been known to falter and lead to serious injury. 

If your health deteriorates due to a medical error, you can at least receive compensation by working with a skilled and experienced malpractice attorney. 

Funny Medical Error Cartoon

• Meet the Author • Dr. Lawrence Kindo

I am a Medical Professional with a passion for writing, blogging, playing, computers, and of course patient care. My writing in this medical blog will reflect my passion, and you are welcome to be a part of this venture. This medical blog is a tribute to all the great medical pioneers, and to the ultimate source of wisdom, God.

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