Finding the causation behind medical mistakes

August 16, 2021 | Crandall & Pera Law
Finding the causation behind medical mistakes

Medical errors can be all too common -- and dangerous -- for Ohio patients suffering from the effects of a doctor or hospital mistake. Medical errors and accidents are a leading cause of accidental death across the country, and many such mistakes are never reported. According to one study, at least 250,000 people every year lose their lives as a result of misdiagnoses and other doctor errors. Others indicate the numbers may be higher, as many mistakes may not be included in hospital records.

Different types of doctor error

There are many different kinds of medical mistakes, including those carried out in hospitals and in doctors' private care. While some of the most glaring harm may be caused by surgical errors or anesthesia mistakes, misdiagnosis and pharmaceutical errors can also have damaging or even deadly effects. Medication errors are a particularly common and dangerous type of medical mistake. Some prescription errors may be made due to simple negligence, carelessness or as the result of the stress of overscheduling. Doctors or other health care workers may dash off hard-to-read prescriptions or click the wrong entry, and pharmacies may struggle to comprehend different notations for the same drug.

Systemic problems can increase patient risk

In some cases, hospital policies can exacerbate or cause medical errors. Overscheduling physicians or failing to schedule sufficient nursing or administrative support may lead to a greater number of errors. The introduction of various computerized systems, including electronic medical records and prescription records, may make some aspects of patient care easier to manage. However, insufficient training or poorly designed software may lead to an increase in mistaken or misunderstood medical requests and records. Some government actions have aimed to target systemic causes of medical errors or persistent hospital negligence, such as reduced Medicare funding for medical problems caused by doctor error. However, medical mistakes are likely to pose a continued threat to patients without concerted action to address the problem.