Health Professionals

Medical Errors: The Third Leading Cause of Death in America

America is on the cutting edge of the healthcare revolution, paving the way for medical breakthroughs using advanced research and technology. Moreover, the benefits of the affordable care act are helping more citizens take charge of their healthcare. As a result, medical practitioners are experiencing a surge in patients, which is great in the long-run. However, it can lead to more medical errors as well.

When a person is seeking some type of medical care at a medical treatment center, he or she surely expects to get the best possible remedy or solution for his or her health condition. In a medical treatment center, people can often find health professionals who hopefully possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to effectively treat most medical ailments.

medical errors

Unfortunately, not all patients who go to a medical treatment center can get their desired solution. In fact, there are many medical errors that occur in medical treatment centers. According to a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors have resulted in approximately 400,000 deaths per year. Since the number of deaths is growing from year-to-year, medical errors have rapidly become the third-leading cause of death in America.

What are Medical Errors?

Medical errors are almost always a preventable adverse effect of care, occurring when a health practitioner chooses an inappropriate treatment option. More often than not, most medical errors are attributed to humans. In most cases, medical errors are harmful to a person’s life. Basically, medical errors include the incomplete or inaccurate diagnosis or treatment. There are 4 causes of medical errors, they are:

  1. Healthcare complexity
  2. System and process design
  3. Competency, education, and training
  4. Human factors and ergonomics.

10 Most Common Preventable Medical Errors

There are numerous types of medical errors that can occur, but some seem to occur more frequent than others. Below are the 10 medical errors that occur more often than others:

Medication errors – This type of error occurs when there is a mistake prescribing and/or administering a medication. For example, a patient might receive a medication that promotes their allergy instead of treating it. To avoid medication errors, patients should build have clear and precise communication with their doctors so that doctors know what medication to give (including the right dosage).

Lab Mistakes – Possible mistakes that happen in a lab setting include: a wrong diagnosis, a mixed-up result, a wrong test and/or wrong test procedure. There are two things you can do to avoid lab mistakes. They are to first choose a reputable lab. Second, ask your physician clearly about the procedure of a test you must do and the expected result.

Incorrect diagnosis – This can happen if a doctor makes an error or if the result of a test is inaccurate. Because the consequence of an incorrect diagnosis is wrong medication that can lead to a worse health condition, you should be attentive with doctor’s diagnosis. You need to ask everything you want to know.

Forgotten communication – This medical error occurs due to the lack of communication between doctor and patients. A doctor, who should meet and check lots of patients every day, probably cannot remember well about you. You had better tell your doctor once you realize that your doctor cannot remember what medication he ever gives to you.

Missed allergies – It is better for patients to tell their doctor clearly and promptly if they realize that a new treatment or medication given to them make them feeling worse. There is surely a possibility of an allergy.

Wrong treatment – Even though a doctor might have all results of test, it does not guarantee that he or she will be able to give the most suitable treatment.

Surgical mistakes – Common surgical mistakes that occur include leaving surgical equipment behind, performing a surgery on the wrong location, performing a wrong surgery.

Getting an infection – Infection is possible to occur in a hospital because there are many kinds of harmful things that can cause an infection. In this case, patients need to be attentive. If they feel different, they should immediately tell their doctor.

Birth defects – This medical error might happen because of negligence or unnoticeable warning signs. If you experience pain or feel different with your baby, you have to tell your doctor and staffs as soon as possible in order to avoid delayed labor.

Drug confusion at pharmacies – You should always check prescription medicines that you receive to make sure that what you receive is the right medicine.