6 Dangers Of Medical Errors And How To Prevent Them

Medical Errors

Did you know that medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the world?

Medical errors are mistakes made in healthcare that could have been prevented. These mistakes can occur in all kinds of healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and nursing homes.

One of the root causes of medical errors is communication. These errors often lead to fatal injuries and death. Examples of medical errors include:

  • Being prescribed the wrong medicine or the incorrect  dosage of it
  • Getting  misdiagnosed by your doctor
  • Incorrect lab results
  • Misinterpretation of the doctor’s instructions
  • Surgery is done on the wrong area of the body

This article has listed a couple of tips that you can employ to ensure your safety and prevent medical errors from occurring.

Error Prevention In The Hospital

A few ways to decrease the risk of errors in the hospital include:

  • Whilst not common, operating on the wrong body part does occur. It’s prudent to ensure everyone is on the same page before they put you on anesthetics.
  • Choosing a hospital that deals in treating your condition and has a proven track record.
  • Ask your doctor to clarify your treatment plan for post-surgery.
  • Regular maintenance of medical equipment to ensure efficiency, such as electronic stethoscopes, electrocardiogram (EKG) machines, etc.
  • Making sure that you’re working with trained medical staff that is up-to-date with its ACLS and PALS certification.
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Take Charge Of Your Medical History

Besides seeing your general practitioner, nowadays, there are several different specialists that you consult and may get prescriptions from. The patient needs to take an active role in compiling your medical history together. Whilst technology is advancing every day and strides are being made in regards to making databases available in which medical professionals can efficiently access your medical records, technology is still far from perfect.

As a patient, you should be able to provide your comprehensive medical history background to whoever the current healthcare professional handling you at the moment. It would save a lot of time wasted in speculation and conjecture instead of treatment. 

Money could be wasted on repeated tests and medication. It also helps decrease the risk of a misdiagnosis when the doctor has the full picture.

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Always make sure the information you provide is up to date and accurate to decrease the risk of filing errors and incorrect data capturing.

Learn About Your Condition

When you’re diagnosed with a condition, it’s important to seek information surrounding the condition. It’s a common occurrence for a patient to be in denial and refuse to seek information about their condition to maintain a bubble of safety, but this is a very dangerous practice.

Consult with your doctor, allow them to dispel any fears or misconceptions you may have. Before undergoing treatment of any kind, ask questions. It’s well within your rights for your doctor to explain the reason why you’re being given certain medication.

Always inquire about the side effects and possible allergic reactions.

Before going for a test, ask the purpose and make sure it’s not redundant. Make sure you follow up on test results. You may spend days waiting for a test result that could come out in hours due to medical inefficiencies in communication. This could lead to delayed treatment and cause additional complications to your condition. Always follow up.

Seek a second opinion

There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion. It’s often encouraged. The chances of a misdiagnosis occurring are greatly lowered when you consult more than one professional. 

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Usually, this second opinion is conducted by a professional who’s unfamiliar with your history. 

Speak To Your Pharmacist

Wherever possible, cultivate a relationship with your local pharmacist. Whenever you pick up medicine, ask questions. Confirm that the medication prescribed is effective for your problem. 

Enquire about dosages. A lot of errors that occur at home are caused by not understanding the information surrounding dosages, which includes the frequency and the appropriate amount.

For example, the average household teaspoon isn’t the same as the teaspoon referred to on a bottle of liquid medicine.

Ask A Family Member You Trust To Be Present

Take someone along with you when you go to the hospital or see the doctor. Make sure it’s a person who can speak up for you and whose opinion you can trust if decisions need to be made.

At times, the medications and injections prescribed might impair your thought processes or motor functions and you’ll need help to get home.


Everyone should prioritize taking care of their health. You should not expect perfection from healthcare professionals. ‘To err is human.’