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What Leads to Medical Errors in Healthcare?

medical errorsMedical errors occur as a series of events that lead to harm to a patient that could have been avoided. While many factors lead to a medical error, they stem from a lack of proper communication, lack of knowledge or planning. When a medical mishap is unavoidable, it is not considered an error, making errors completely avoidable. Despite being avoidable, it is estimated that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. However, this figure could be more daunting than realized, as many medical errors are never reported.

When you or someone you love has been harmed in a preventable event, the first thing that crosses most people’s minds is how this could have happened.

Poor or Lacking Communication

Good communication comes down to good documentation. In healthcare, everything should be written down. Even when professionals feel they can remember something, they should never rely on it due to how hectic a healthcare environment can be. Even further, it can still lead to medical errors since there are others working with patients as well. Something you do for a patient could influence how someone else works with the patient, unbeknownst to the first practicing physician.

Further, there is a saying in medicine that if it wasn’t written down, it wasn’t done. When recording treatment, it’s important to write what has already been done, what still needs to be done, and the overall plans for a patient or client to avoid mishaps. Reviewing notes is important in healthcare as the smallest mistake can have devastating effects on the life of the patient.


Being honest with your own skill and knowledge level in healthcare is imperative for everyone’s safety. To best help patients, healthcare professionals should take regular, honest assessments of the areas in which they need improvement, which everyone has. The key to avoiding unnecessary medical errors and injury comes down to honesty and receiving the guidance and resources necessary to overcome shortcomings in knowledge.

Exercising Judgment

In the medical field, using the best judgment can be a tall order since calls are made without all the facts or using information that has many potential interpretations. As such, it’s important to ask for help, use good planning such as different options depending on certain outcomes, and being attentive both to your patient and the treatment process.

With so many factors, it comes as no surprise that medical errors are common. If you or someone you love have been victim to a medical error, contact our team today for more information about your legal options.


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