Factors That Lead to Medical Errors

July 01, 2009

Medical files

Research on hospital deaths from medical mistakes shows a significant number of those deaths are preventable.

Research on hospital deaths from medical mistakes shows a significant number of those deaths are preventable.

Some of the factors that lead to medical errors are out of your control. But in some cases, you can reduce your risk by speaking up and taking an active role in your care.

Hospital medical mistakes

Most hospital medical mistakes are related to one of seven areas:

  • Improper medication use
  • Poor infection control
  • Irregularities in surgery and anesthesia
  • Faulty transfusions
  • Patient restraints or seclusion
  • Understaffing and staff miscommunication
  • Medical equipment failure

Miscommunication

Researchers say the complex and fragmented nature of today’s healthcare system may increase your risk. When you see a variety of doctors at different facilities, communication sometimes breaks down. In other cases, communication between the patient and caregiver is faulty.

Your role

You play a big role in preventing medical communication problems. Whether you’re picking up a prescription or having major surgery, ask questions and speak up.

  • Find out about every pill, shot, test, or treatment before it’s given.
  • Make sure all caregivers know your medical history.

Remember, you have to be your biggest advocate.

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