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Medical Errors & Heart Disease Kill Most Americans EVERY YEAR

That's right. It appears that medical error is now as deadly as a stroke or heart attack especially inside of U.S. hospitals. Most of us know this, but have we really considered the TOP 10 medical errors that are killing our patients.

MEDICAL ERRORS THAT LEAD TO DEATH Medical errors cause thousands of deaths every year in the United States. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors contribute to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, and that estimate only takes hospital patients into account. Outlined below are the most common causes of fatal medical errors by medical professionals. 1 COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS Communication problems, both vocal and written, are one of the most common causes of medical errors. Miscommunication can occur between a doctor, a nurse, a lab technician, or any other medical professional. 2 INFORMATION FLOW Many patients never learn basic information about their illness and treatment. A Mayo Clinic survey found that only about 42% of discharged patients could name their diagnosis, 28% could list all their medications, 37% could state the purpose of their prescription drugs, and 14% could identify the drugs’ most common side effects. 42% Discharged patients could name their diagnosis. 3 MEDICAL ERRORS Medication errors are one of the most common medical mistakes. They may involve prescribing the wrong drug, the wrong dose, or failing to account for drug interactions. Every year in the U.S., between 7,000 and 9,000 patients die as a result of a medical error. 4 ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE This includes inadequately training and educating health care providers. Without proper training, doctors, nurses, and other caregivers may not perform medical tasks the right way or even know how to properly transfer crucial patient information between shifts, placing patients at risk of death. 5 MISDIAGNOSIS The incorrect diagnosis can prove deadly to a patient in dire need of medical care. Misdiagnosis can cause a patient’s actual medical illness to worsen. Some forms of treatment can be deadly if they are performed on the wrong patient. 6 DELAYED DIAGNOSIS Delayed diagnosis can lead to the deterioration of a patient’s medical condition and long periods of pain and suffering before the proper medical care is administered. A delayed diagnosis may allow a disease to progress to a point where it is no longer treatable. 7 PATIENT-RELATED ISSUES These issues may include improper patient identification, insufficient patient assessment, failure to get consent, and inadequate patient education. 8 STAFFING PATTERNS AND WORKFLOW Inadequate staffing can put healthcare providers in situations where they are more likely to make an error. A Mayo Clinic survey of almost 6,700 doctors in the U.S. found that 10.5% reported making a major medical error in the past three months. 10.5% Doctors made a major medical error in the past three months. 9 TECHNICAL FAILURE Medical equipment and devices may not be well-maintained or could be defective. If a health care provider uses faulty equipment on a patient, it could cause death. 10 INADEQUATE POLICIES This includes failing to create comprehensive organizational policies, clearly document policies, or carry out organizational policies across the medical facility.

BONUS KNOWLEDGE: MOST COMMON MEDICATION ERRORS Failure to account for a patient's medical history or allergies Failure to administer medication at all Failure to consider potential drug interactions Failure to administer medications at the appropriate time Administering the wrong medication Administering the wrong form of a medication, such as using immediate-release instead of extended-release Administering the wrong dose or strength Preparing medication incorrectly Administering medication to the wrong patient Administering expired medication

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