Understanding Medical Errors

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A medical error refers to a mistake made by a health care provider that could have been preventable in a normal situation. Medical errors are quite common as they are associated with human error which can hardly be predicted. If such an error leads to additional patient injuries, then the situation may be subject to a medical negligence case. Today we are going to discuss about the different aspects of the errors that can occur in the medical world.

Emotions that health care providers experience

A recent approach to medical mistakes is the book written by Danielle Ofri, entitled What Doctors Feel. The book talks about how doctors view their profession and how their emotions can affect their work. Although heath care providers are supposed to be rational practitioners whose actions are based on scientific evidence, they are still human and can make mistakes. The fact that medical mistakes are only approached in terms of laws and compensation have made doctors quite reluctant to own up to their errors. The author believes that in order for the system to evolve it is important to create a healthy medical environment where doctors can feel safe to recognize their mistakes without being shamed for them. Taking extra tests and precautions methods is only going to help in monitoring the errors and their frequency but in no way will it help in diminishing them.


According to a recent statistic done by the AMA, it has been discovered that about 40 000 to 80 000 US hospital patients die each year on account of medical errors. While these results are based on solid proof we can’t help but wonder how many other preventable deaths are still hidden from the eyes of the public. Furthermore there are a lot more medical errors which led to serious injuries and countless errors which were fortunately fixed in a timely manner. However if a person managed to survive after a medical negligence scenario does not make the case less important. Medical mistakes should not be categorized on account of their gravity but on account of the circumstances that led to them.

Possible causes

There are many causes that can lead to a mistake in the medical world. Due to the fact that these causes are so diverse, it is quite hard to find a way to avoid mistakes. Some of the most frequently encountered causes of errors in the medical world are: misdiagnosis, malfunctioning equipment, wrong treatment dosage, incorrect or inefficient record keeping, patient overload and so on. These are but a few of the many reasons hat can drive a doctor to provide unsatisfactory health care.

What can be done

As far as technology goes there are many solutions to diminishing medical errors but some of them may prove to be too expensive for certain medical institutions. One of the most useful technological solutions is simulation training, a program that puts doctors into life like medical crises. This program is very good for improving the reaction of medical professionals in stressful and unpredictable situations. There are many more technologies that can be applied in the medical world in order to improve the organizing and administration systems as well as the skills of the health care providers. However these technologies need to be combined with psychological exercised which focus on the doctors’ emotional statuses. It is important for everyone to understand that malpractice is just the tip of the iceberg of the medical mistakes.

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