What is the most common source of medical errors?

The most common medical errors cause thousands of instances of medical malpractice each year. Medical errors can prevent a patient from getting the treatment that they need. They can also cause additional health complications.

As a patient, it’s important to recognize the most common forms of medical errors. If you’re the victim of a medical mistake, you may deserve financial compensation. Our Denver attorneys for medical malpractice explain the most common medical errors.

Most Common Medical Errors

The most common medical errors include the following:

Misdiagnosis – There are many reasons that misdiagnosis can occur. A health care provider may not ask the right questions. They may not order the proper tests. The consequence can be a misdiagnosis, which results in harm to the patient.

Delayed diagnosis – Even if a diagnosis is accurate, health care providers must make the diagnosis in a reasonable amount of time. Delayed diagnosis occurs when a care provider had the information available at their disposal to make the right diagnosis earlier, or when they could have had the information available if they had taken the right steps.

Medication error – Getting the right medication is a critical part of any care plan. Medication mistakes occur because of transcribing errors, failure on the part of the health care professional to read carefully, or not asking the right questions about drug interactions. All patients need the right medication in the correct doses to have successful treatment.

Infection – Infection is a serious risk in any kind of clinical setting. Care providers must take appropriate measures to minimize the risk of infection.

Bad medical devices – When a medical device malfunctions, harm can result to a patient.

What is the most common source of medical errors?

Wrong records/wrong patient – Carelessness can lead to reading the wrong records and giving treatment to the wrong patient. Too often, a failure to work deliberately and cautiously can lead to serious consequences for patients who don’t receive the treatment that they need because of a patient mix up.

Medication errors – Medication errors may include giving too much medication or not enough medication. Caregivers should know when it’s appropriate to prescribe medication. They should know how to evaluate the risks associated with giving or refusing a medication so that they can provide their patient with the best possible care.

Failure to instruct patient for self-care – When a patient leaves care, they need to know how to take care of their injuries and illnesses. An essential part of medical care is instruction for self-care after leaving treatment. Not giving patients the information that they need to help themselves is a form of medical error.

Falls – Risk of falling is a serious problem for many people with an illness or injury. The risks of falling should be addressed for each patient. Care providers should put a safety plan into place to lessen the risk of falling.

Discharging from care too quickly – One of the goals of in-hospital care is to minimize the risk of readmission. It’s vital to ensure that patients are fit to be discharged so that they don’t need to return to the hospital for the same course of treatment.

What Are the Top Five Medical Errors?

The top five medical errors are misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medication error, infection, and harmful medical devices. The top five medical errors are responsible for most instances of medical malpractice in health care. A medical error can occur in several ways, but the top five medical errors are the most common ways that medical mistakes happen in the health care system.

What Is the Most Common Contributing Cause of Medical Errors?

The most common contributing cause of medical errors is human error. A lack of training, fatigue, or inattention can all contribute to medical errors. When medical professionals do not work carefully, or when they do not have the appropriate training, a medical error can occur. Although there are other causes of medical errors, human error is the most common contributing cause of medical errors.

Medication Administration Errors

Medication administration errors are a serious form of medical malpractice. There are several ways that medication administration errors can occur. For example, a nurse may misinterpret a doctor’s writing or an oral directive. The person who is responsible for administering the medication may simply deliver the wrong kind of medication or the wrong dose.

Another way that an error may occur is because of a failure to identify or account for drug interactions. Medication administration errors can occur in many ways and cause serious harm to patients.

What Is the Most Common Error That Involves Health Care Professionals When Working With a Patient?

The most common error that involves health care professionals when working with a patient is a medication prescribing error. According to the National Institutes of Health, [1] prescribing mistakes account for 46.5 percent of medical errors when working on a patient.

In addition, administration errors account for another 29 percent of medical errors. Medication prescribing errors are the most common medical error that health care professionals make when they’re working with a patient.

Communication Errors in Health Care

Communication errors in health care are a form of medical malpractice. There are multiple parties involved in any kind of health care service. Being able to share information is critical to successful treatment. When communication errors occur in health care, treatment may be delayed, or a patient may receive the wrong treatment. A mistake in communication can amount to medical malpractice if a patient suffers harm because of an error.

Medical Malpractice Injury Attorneys

An experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers can help you pursue your rights if you’re hurt because of a medical mistake. If you’re injured because of a medical error, there’s a good chance that you have a valid legal claim based on medical malpractice. Your case is based on state law. The compensation that you may claim includes compensation for the cost of medical complications as well as pain and suffering.

Don’t become a victim twice. Call Bachus & Schanker, LLC, to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team. You have a limited time to pursue your claim. Contact us now to begin.


[1] Cheragi MA, Manoocheri H, Mohammadnejad E, Ehsani SR. Types and causes of medication errors from nurse’s viewpoint. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2013;18(3):228-31.

What is the most common source of medical errors?
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, after cancer and heart disease. According to a Johns Hopkins study, medical mistakes kill more than 250,000 people every year. These numbers are scary for patients who quite literally place their lives in the hands of medical professionals every day.

Even in the best hospitals in the country, mistakes can happen. But, that doesn’t mean you should avoid getting necessary medical treatment for fear of something going wrong. Instead, equip yourself with knowledge. Be aware of the most common types of preventable medical errors:

1. Misdiagnosis

Error in diagnosis is a common medical error. Incorrect diagnosis can result in unnecessary or harmful treatment. A wrong diagnosis also means that the patient’s true illness won’t be treated right away, if at all, prolonging the patient’s suffering.

2. Delayed Diagnosis

A delayed diagnosis can be as detrimental as a misdiagnosis. A delay in diagnosis can prevent the patient from getting necessary treatment in a timely manner.

3. Medication Error

One of the most common mistakes that occurs in the course of medical treatment is an error in medication. Prescribing the wrong dose, or failing to account for drug interactions can have detrimental effects for the patient. Prescribers and caregivers must carefully consider a patient’s medical history to watch for allergies and potentially harmful drug combinations before administering medicine. If they fail to do so, or if information is left off of a patient’s chart, the consequences can be very serious.

4. Infection

Infection is a risk of almost any hospital stay or medical procedure. Most hospital infections are not serious and can be treated. However, some infections can become much more serious and even deadly.

5. Bad medical devices

Oftentimes, a medical mistake isn’t a mistake at all, but rather the result of an unsafe medical device. Even if your doctor does everything right, she can’t protect you from a malfunctioning or defective tool.  In these cases, the doctor or caregiver is not to blame; the manufacturer of the defective device bears responsibility. Devices such as IVC blood clot filters, hernia mesh, Stryker hip implants, Bair Hugger surgical warming blankets, and countless other medical tools and products have been known to fail and cause serious harm.

While these are some of the most common mistakes, any number of errors in medical care can have serious consequences for patients.

Protect yourself and your loved ones from medical mistakes

The potential for medical error shouldn’t stop you or your family from getting the care you need. The good news is that most medical mistakes are preventable.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If possible, bring someone else with you, a friend or family member, to help you. Write everything down – your medications, allergies, previous doctors and health issues, and any questions you may have. When you’re being discharged from the hospital, make sure you ask your doctor to explain your home care and recovery process.

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Posted in Personal Injury.

Tagged Medical Errors Medical Malpractice