Medical malpractice is a big industry, because medical professionals make errors every day as they go about their daily work. Sometimes these errors are relatively minor and do not cause harm to patients, but in other cases, medical errors can result in lifelong complications and disabilities.
Here are some of the most common mistakes doctors and nurses make on the job and how these errors impact patients. Knowing these common mistakes can help you be more aware of potential hazards if you are facing a particular procedure in which these errors often occur.
1. Errors leading to infections
According to the Centers for Disease Control, hospital infections account for 99,000 deaths in American hospitals each year. Sometimes these infections are the direct result of a medical error. Doctors and nurses must practice proper hygiene to minimize the risk of infections. Improper cleaning and disinfection can lead to serious infections.
2. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Another serious mistake that doctors make is misdiagnosing an illness, or they may miss a diagnosis altogether. A misdiagnosis can lead to the wrong treatment and a lack of treatment for the true illness, while a delayed or missed diagnosis can lead to serious complications or even a death that may have been preventable. Common examples of this include false positives or false negatives on exams; misdiagnosed or delayed diagnosis of cancer; and errors in diagnosing appendicitis, a heart attack, an infection or what have you.
3. Medication errors
Mistakes in administering medication can result in serious problems for patients. Doctors and nurses may make mistakes in the type and/or proper dosage of a medication. Sometimes a doctor or nurse may administer an improper combination of medications that can cause harm. It can even happen that a nurse mixes up medications between different patients, thereby administering the wrong medication to more than one patient. These are serious errors that should not go unchallenged.