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Common Medical Errors and Preventing Medical Malpractice

Published on April 7, 2022

Every day throughout the United States, medical errors result in preventable patient complications, illnesses, and even deaths.  As a patient, it is vital to be aware of and recognize the most common types of medical errors.  You are your first line of protection in the fight for correct and competent medical care.

Medical Practitioners Make Medical Errors

The most significant contributor to medical errors is medical practitioners themselves.  Doctors and other medical providers are people, and people make mistakes.  

Medical malpractice may occur when practitioners are:

  • Fatigued;

  • Using administration systems with which they are unfamiliar;

  • Inexperienced; and 

  • Rushed.

Some situations caused by the above include:

  • When medical providers are tired or in a hurry, the wrong medical records can be attributed to the wrong patient.  This type of carelessness can lead to administering the wrong treatment to a patient;

  • Working too quickly can lead to a failure to take the needed precautions to prevent falls.  As falls are a severe risk for ill and injured patients, a fall assessment should be addressed for each patient; and

  • Rushing through patient care can result in early discharge and mean readmission for the same course of treatment multiple times.

Communication Failures Can Cause Medical Errors

Teams of providers and staff are involved in today’s health services system.  When there is a communication breakdown amongst staff during a shift change, patient transfer, or relay of any written or spoken information, patient care can suffer.  

Communication failures also happen between providers and their patients.  Patients who are not adequately instructed in self-care after in-office or in-patient treatment can be the victims of medical errors.

Most Common Types of Medical Errors

While there are numerous types of medical errors, many medical complications arise from just five types of mistakes.  These are as follows: 

  • Misdiagnosis of a condition;
  • Delayed diagnosis of the proper disease;
  • Medication error(s);
  • Infection after surgery; and 
  • Implantation of harmful or defective medical devices. 

Of these five medical errors, medication prescribing mistakes account for nearly 50% of patient medical errors.

Medication Prescribing Mistakes

Medication prescribing mistakes can happen at any point in patient care.  In a hospital setting, the wrong type of medicine or wrong dose of medicine may be given to a patient.  At a pharmacy, a doctor’s order may be misinterpreted, and the incorrect drug or dosage may be filled.  

A doctor or pharmacist may miss drug interactions that could lead to serious patient illness or death.  Therefore, a patient must be vigilant when receiving any prescription medication from their doctor, pharmacist or while in in-patient care.

Contact an Experienced Arizona Medical Malpractice Attorney

The above was only a sample of common medical errors facing patients today.  For more information, or if you or your loved one were the victim of a preventable medical error, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Knapp & Roberts.  

At Knapp & Roberts, we help victims pursue justice and hold negligent medical providers responsible for the pain and suffering they cause.  Arizona places strict time limits on filing medical malpractice claims, so reach out to Knapp & Roberts today.   


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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.