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What are the most common medical errors?

Going to the doctor may not be the most joyful experience for Pennsylvania residents, but it is a necessary step to take to ensure the health of individuals. If a patient is seriously ill or injured in an accident, medical care is often required for his or her survival. No matter the reason, a patient is being seen by a medical professional, trust is placed in the doctor, surgeon, nurse and medical staff. Failure to provide the medical duty of care could result in medical errors, thus harming or even killing the patient.

What are the most common medical errors? While it is human nature to make mistakes, mistakes made by medical professionals can be serious and life threatening. Every day, patients are harmed by mistakes made during medical care, and gaining a better understanding of these common mistakes could help increase awareness and reduce their occurrences.

According to the Institute of Medicine, which considered the top ten most common medical errors occurring in the U.S., technical medical errors are in the number one spot. This occurs when the medical professional makes a mistake, such as inaccurate measurements during a surgical procedure. The second most common medical error is the failure to use indicated tests, which is followed by the avoidable delay in treatment.

The failure to take precautions is listed as fourth, which is followed by the failure to act on test results. The remaining top medical errors include: inadequate monitoring after a procedure, inadequate patient preparation before a procedure, inadequate follow-up after treatment, avoidable delay in diagnosis and improper medication dose or method of use.

While this is only a list of the top 10 most common medical errors, this list is not exhaustive. There are other possible medical errors and mistakes that could seriously harm patients. Because of this, it is important that patients and their loved ones understand how a medical mistake occurred, allowing him or her to take appropriate action.

A medical malpractice claim could provide compensation for losses and damages caused by the medical error, thus alleviating the patient and their family from financial burdens. Those considering this cause of action should understand their rights and options, so he or she can make an informed decision.

Source:, "To Err Is Human: Building A Safer Health System," Accessed Sept. 15, 2015

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