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Why Do Medical Errors Happen

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Medical errors account for up to 210,000 deaths in the United States every year. The cases of death that can easily be prevented if effective strategies are implemented to improve the administration of treatment offered to patients. Research done by James (2013) supports that it is important to identify main errors that result in the death of patients, namely: the error of commission, the error of omission, miscommunication between doctor and patient, errors in diagnosis, and finally errors of contest. In this paper six primary reasons have been highlighted to explain why medical errors occur:

  • The miscommunication between the ill patient and the doctor administering treatment: When a patient cannot sufficiently inform the doctor of their symptoms, it can lead to misdiagnosis and wrong treatment procedure.
  • The lack of patient’s authorization: When a doctor and a patient do not establish an efficient and open communication, the doctor may administer treatment unauthorized by the patient.
  • Medical professionals have insufficient training; hence they may lack integral knowledge and skills needed to treat patients effectively. According to James (2013), due to lack of proper comprehensive training, doctors can misdiagnose patients and administer wrong treatment or even administer the right treatment wrongly.
  • Errors of omission by the doctors or the relevant parties: this comes as a result of failure to follow evidence-based plans, which are somehow difficult to notice, as there may be some complexity in the guidelines.
  • Errors of commission: this is an error that may occur when a wrong action tends to affect a patient either due to the wrong action or the right action that was performed wrongly. For example, a patient requests the gall bladder to be removed, but in the process of the surgery, the intestines are nicked resulting the patient to develop another complication that may even lead to death.
  • Malpractice by doctors due to failure to strictly follow all medical procedures considering all background information and patient history. Additionally, sometimes doctors are overworked, hence make mistakes that can kill patients (James, 2013)

In conclusion, a majority of medical errors are preventable, but it requires a collective effort of doctors, patients and all other parties involved in the treatment of a patient.

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