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Top Causes of Medical Errors

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Top Causes of Medical Errors

Medical errors are an all-too-common occurrence in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other medical facilities across New Jersey. Medical errors may include mistakes in prescribing or administering medication, delayed diagnosis/misdiagnosis, hospital-acquired infections, anesthesia or surgical errors, and inadequate follow-up care. 

Medical errors can easily lead to patient injury or even death. Most medical errors can be attributed to some mistake or carelessness by healthcare professionals and medical facility administrators. Here are eight of some of the most common root causes of medical errors. And if you have been the victim of a medical error, a medical malpractice attorney can help you to pursue a claim to recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wage or income, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life. 

Communication Breakdowns

Breakdowns in the lines of communications between members of a treatment team, or between the doctors and nurses on a treatment team and the patient they are treating, are the most common cause of medical errors. Communication breakdowns mean that potentially critical information is not properly relayed or is not relayed altogether. 

Failure to Share Information

The flow of information in modern healthcare is especially important, particularly as patients regularly have one or more specialist providers in addition to a primary care physician, or when in the hospital setting are transferred between care units or even between hospitals or healthcare facilities. When healthcare professionals must collaborate on patient care or when patient care is transferred between teams or facilities, doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals must ensure that critical information regarding the patient’s care, including diagnostic testing results, medication orders, and other directives regarding the patient’s care are shared between members of a healthcare team. 

Human Error

Human error is also one of the most frequent causes of medical errors. Human errors may occur when healthcare professionals fail to properly follow policies and procedures or standards of care, including poor documentation or not confirming orders. Human errors may also occur when a healthcare professional lacks the required knowledge to provide necessary care to a patient and ends up providing inadequate treatment. 

Inadequate Patient Communication

Medical errors also occur when healthcare professionals fail to have proper communication with a patient. This may include not performing an adequate patient intake or medical history or assessment, not ensuring patient identification prior to administering medication or performing procedures, not providing adequate post-discharge instructions, or not obtaining proper informed consent. 

Insufficient Training

Healthcare facilities are also at risk for medical errors when they fail to ensure that their professional staff has proper training, including training in the facility’s policies and procedures. This is most critical for newly-hired staff or temporary staff.

Inadequate Staffing

On a similar note, healthcare facilities also experience medical errors due to inadequate staffing. Staffing issues may arise due to widespread industry shortages, temporary staffing crunches (such as over holidays and weekends), shortages caused by a facility’s inability to attract and retain talent, or a facility’s conscious decision to cut staffing due to financial pressures. 

Technical Issues

Some medical errors also happen due to technical problems with medical devices and equipment, whether due to defective design or manufacturing of devices or equipment or due to a healthcare facility’s failure to perform proper maintenance. 

Inadequate Policies and Procedures

Finally, healthcare facilities face the risk of allowing medical errors to occur when they have insufficient policies and procedures in place that are designed to prevent some of the most common points of failure in patient care. 

Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey

Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Haddonfield medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Offices of Andres & Berger P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, and Collingswood. Call us today at (856) 795-1444 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 264 Kings Hwy. E., Haddonfield, NJ 08033.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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