What Are The Most Common Causes Of Medical Errors?

When a person goes to a doctor, surgeon, or any other healthcare professional for help, the last thing they expect is that they will be harmed. However, there are times when the careless or negligent actions of a healthcare professional cause serious and long-lasting negative effects. Medical mistakes are more common than most people realize. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, around 250,000 people are killed each year due to a preventable medical error. If that data is true, that means that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The top medical mistakes in the US


Johns Hopkins researchers say that diagnostic mistakes result in more patient harm than any other medical error. The right diagnosis is the most important part of a person recovering from what is causing them harm. A wrong diagnosis (or not being diagnosed at all) can delay the treatment a person receives.

Unnecessary Tests or Treatment

In an era where medical professionals feel the need to run every test possible to avoid missing anything, they could be subjecting patients to treatments they do not need. Unnecessary treatment could be the result of a misdiagnosis or an overzealous medical professional. Studies show that unnecessary tests cost patients billions of dollars each year. Worse, these unnecessary tests and treatments could worsen a patient’s condition. There are risks involved in any medical procedure. While there are certainly many tests that may be necessary, each additional medical test places a risk on a person’s health.

Medication Mistakes

These incidents happen regularly. Researchers say that as many as 1.5 million people are hurt each year in the US due to these errors. These mistakes can include a patient receiving the wrong medication, the wrong dosage of their medication, or not receiving the correct medication at all. This can also include a patient receiving a deadly combination of medications due to a lack of review of their medical records by a doctor or pharmacist.

“Never Events”

Never events are things that should absolutely never happen during a medical procedure. This can include operating on the wrong person or wrong body part, leaving an object inside of someone during surgery, air bubbles injected into IVs, food being injected into chest tubes, etc. When these incidents occur, they are often fatal or debilitating.

Uncoordinated Care

Many people see multiple doctors and specialists. Unfortunately, there is no easy or universal system for coordinating a person’s medical records from one medical professional to another. This could lead to doctors performing the same tests, not running vital tests, medical mistakes, and more.

Healthcare-Acquired Infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one out of every 25 hospital patients contracts an infection. Among those who die in the hospital, one out of every three has sepsis at the time of death, an infection that spreads throughout a person’s body. It is vital that medical professionals follow infection control protocols, including washing hands and checking high-risk infection sites (open wounds, IV sites, etc.).

Medical malpractice compensation

If a person is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional, they could be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. This could include:

  • Compensation for all medical expenses related to the error(s)
  • Coverage of lost income and benefits if you cannot work
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Punitive damages against the healthcare provider/agency responsible

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Orange County medical malpractice attorney today.