How Medical Errors Happen

Unfortunately, medical errors can and do happen. Every year, many people are harmed or even killed as a result of a preventable medical mistake. In our post today, we’ll look at some of the more common errors and discuss why they happen. 

Common Examples of Medical Errors 

Mistakes can happen at any point in a patient’s care – from the check-in process to follow-up. 

Here are some of the more common examples of medical errors: 

  • Wrong medication or dosage administered 
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Patient mix-up
  • Over- or under-treatment 
  • Surgical injuries 
  • Obstetrical injuries
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Falls (e.g., improper restraint or support)
  • Wrong site surgery
  • Failure to warn

Not every error will lead to an adverse outcome for the patient. For instance, a patient may be given an incorrect medication, but suffers no side effects as a result. 

Why Medical Errors Happen 

Most medical errors are not the result of an individual being intentionally reckless. In fact, most of the time, there are faulty systems or processes that make it easy for staff to make mistakes. 

For example, a medical error could be caused by: 

  • Communication errors (between staff or staff and patient)
  • Technical/computer errors 
  • Incorrect tests ordered 
  • Failure to carefully review medical history 
  • Medication mislabeling or medications stored in similar bottles 

Another issue that can happen is if a doctor has a strong initial impression about a diagnosis after meeting with a patient. Sometimes, that bias can prevent the doctor from considering alternative diagnoses and ordering necessary tests. When this happens, a patient may not receive a correct diagnosis.

Is it Medical Malpractice? 

Not every medical error will rise to the level of malpractice. To have a malpractice case, you’ll need ample evidence to demonstrate that the doctor or hospital was negligent. Further, you’ll need to be able to connect how that negligence resulted in your injuries. Malpractice cases can be difficult and costly to pursue – and it’s essential you work with an experienced malpractice attorney for assistance.

There is no cost to speak with our attorneys for an initial consultation. Please, reach out and let us know what happened. We’d be happy to let you know what legal options you might have.

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Angela Russell
Articles: 33

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