The Most Common Medical Errors

From going in for a routine checkup to undergoing a major surgery, millions of Americans receive healthcare each year. However, like any other industry, the medical field isn’t immune to mistakes. In fact, nearly one in twenty people experience preventable errors in a healthcare setting.

As a patient, discovering that your healthcare provider made a mistake is one of the most stressful and disconcerting experiences you can go through. Knowing about the most common medical errors and how they occur will help you identify problems quickly and hold the responsible party accountable. 

Prescription Drug Errors

With over 19,000 medications available on the market, people rely on healthcare professionals to help them find the right prescription drug and dosage for their condition. Failing to do so can lead to major health consequences and even contribute to medical error deaths. 

Unfortunately, prescription drug mistakes are a prevalent problem that can include:

  • Dispensing a medication to the wrong patient
  • Administering the incorrect dosage
  • Prescribing a harmful drug combination
  • Failing to accommodate patient allergies or conditions

These common medication errors can happen for many reasons, such as poor documentation and communication or incorrectly reading a prescription. Regardless of the cause, though, prescription drug mistakes can be a serious problem for patients. 

Incorrect or Delayed Diagnoses

In order to provide the correct treatment or medication, medical experts must first properly diagnose your condition. However, delayed or incorrect diagnoses are a common problem in the healthcare industry. 

In many cases, the problem begins when a provider:

  • Overlooks key symptoms
  • Declines to order important tests
  • Incorrectly interprets test results
  • Dismisses patient concerns

Without a quick diagnosis, some medical conditions could progress severely and cause dangerous or permanent symptoms. A misdiagnosis may also prompt healthcare professionals to apply unnecessary and harmful treatment, often leading to physical or psychological damage.

Equipment Malfunctions

Doctors, nurses, and other providers rely on various equipment to monitor and care for patients. Breakdowns, glitches, and other malfunctions can lead to hazardous situations. 

While many people assume that equipment errors are impossible to avoid, healthcare facilities can take certain actions to prevent them from happening, such as:

  • Regularly updating technology
  • Performing routine inspections
  • Properly maintaining the equipment
  • Thoroughly training staff

Should a malfunction occur because a facility was not properly handling or maintaining its equipment, it may be held liable for any damage the error caused. 

Inadequate Follow-Up Care

Aftercare in a healthcare setting plays a significant role in tracking treatment efficacy. A lack of follow-up care could lead to incomplete recovery or cause doctors to miss otherwise detectable issues. 

Though patients also have some responsibility when it comes to treatment compliance, medical professionals should continue to monitor their patients beyond the initial diagnosis. Fostering ongoing communication and creating follow-up appointments allows them to detect complications early and adjust the treatment accordingly. 

Never Events

No medical mistakes are acceptable, but some are so severe, shocking, and preventable that they shouldn’t occur under any circumstance. These types of medical mistakes are called never events. Though they are less common than some of the other medical errors in healthcare, they can have serious consequences for the affected patient. 

Examples of never events include:

  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Performing the incorrect surgical procedure
  • Leaving foreign objects inside the patient
  • Incorrectly discharging a patient

While never events are considered some of the most harmful and negligent medical mistakes, all errors can be incredibly distressing and damaging. 

If you have been hurt by any type of medical error caused by negligence or malpractice, you may be entitled to damages. A skilled Florida medical malpractice attorney can gather evidence and help you seek compensation for your losses.

Contact Our Ocala Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Ocala personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida:

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
(877) 255-3652

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Downtown Gainesville
621 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
(866) 928-6292

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 351-3258