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What are the most common types of medical errors?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2021 | blog, Medical Malpractice

Sadly, medical errors can happen in Georgia. When they do, people can suffer injuries that can range from mild and temporary to severe and permanent. In the worst instances, a person can die. There are a few types of medical errors that are very common, but with the right protocols in place, they can be prevented.

Why do medical errors happen?

Unfortunately, medical errors happen for a few different reasons. When a mistake constitutes medical malpractice, patients can suffer serious injuries that can become permanent and even disabling. Studies have shown that around 51% of injuries patients suffer while seeking medical care in hospitals and other facilities are due to one type of error or another.

What are the different kinds of medical errors?

There are four types of medical errors. They are:

  • Diagnostic. This type of error includes mistakes that involve failing to perform appropriate tests; using old, expired tests, or making mistakes or delays in diagnosis. They also include not appropriately acting on the results of testing.
  • Treatment. These errors occur when the wrong type of treatment is administered, the wrong test is given, the wrong medication or dosage is given or treatment is delayed.
  • Preventative. This kind of medical mistake occurs when there is inadequate follow-up treatment or monitoring of a patient to see his or her progress and failing to provide preventative treatment.
  • Other. Other medical errors involve communication issues and equipment and system failures.

Preventing medical errors from happening

Although there will always be instances of medical malpractice, medical errors can be prevented. The following measures can help reduce them.

  • Using interventions based on evidence. Training health care staff in hospitals and other medical facilities can teach them how to reduce medical errors. TeamSTEPPS is a good example. Teams are trained to act appropriately in any given situation and communicate more effectively.
  • Technology. Electronic patient records are standard in health care. They aim to reduce medical errors, but there are still risks due to human error. However, technology can determine the most common types of errors and devise a solution.

Medical errors can have devastating consequences, but when medical facilities are diligent, many can be avoided.