Medical mistakes can have devastating consequences on patients. All too often, doctors and surgeons make errors that could easily have been avoided had proper precautions and procedures been in place. Here, we want to discuss the most common errors made by doctors and surgeons, as well as whether or not patients are able to secure compensation after these mistakes occur.
Most Common Mistakes
A few years ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins rocked the medical world when they stated that preventable medical errors are responsible for approximately 250,000 deaths each year. This would place medical mistakes as the third leading cause of death in the country.
Medical errors can occur in a wide variety of ways and in any type of medical setting. In fact, it is not just doctors and surgeons that can make medical mistakes. Medical errors can be made by any person working in the medical field. However, some of the top mistakes made by doctors and surgeons include the following:
- Medication mistakes. Millions of Americans use prescription medications each day to ensure good health, to help heal from an injury, and to keep illnesses at bay. However, there are times when medication mistakes occur in the healthcare setting. This can include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication to a patient with known allergies
- Prescribing the wrong medication to treat a specific injury or illness
- Prescribing a medication that interacts poorly with other medications
- Failing to give the proper medication at all
- Giving medication at the wrong dosage
- Healthcare-acquired infections. Information from the CDC states that on any given day, approximately one out of every 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-acquired infection. Most of these infections are preventable, but they can occur if a doctor or surgeon fails to follow proper infection control procedures when assessing a patient or operating on a patient.
- Improper diagnosis. Medical professionals are not perfect, and the human body is not easy to care for. There are times when improper diagnosis will occur that have nothing to do with medical mistakes. However, there are times when overstaffing, carelessness, or laziness can lead to a misdiagnosis, a failure to diagnose, or delayed treatment.
- Surgical errors. Surgical errors should never occur, but they do. Some of the most severe errors can include operating on the wrong body part or the wrong patient, leaving foreign objects or materials behind inside the body, causing more damage through the surgical procedure, and failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs during the procedure.
- Childbirth errors. The childbirth process is complicated, and it is imperative for the entire medical team to be on top of their game when a mother is delivering a child. The monitoring process should occur before the delivery begins, continue throughout the delivery process, and after the child has been born. Some of the most common childbirth errors include the misuse of forceps or vacuum devices, failing to perform a C-section when one is indicated based on vital signs, and failing to monitor vital signs of a mother and baby.
- Anesthesia mistakes. Anesthesia is used for a variety of medical procedures, not just surgeries. This is a complicated process, and it is crucial for anesthesiologists to use the correct amount of medication and monitor the patient continuously during the procedure.