The most common medical errors and why they’re so dangerous

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2021 | Medication Errors

In New Mexico, medication errors occur far too often. Unfortunately, these errors, which are often completely avoidable when the right precautions are in place, can cause patients to suffer serious injuries or even death. There are several medication errors that are the most common that can lead to death.

Communication problems

One of the biggest causes of medical malpractice involves communication problems. If a patient is supposed to receive a specific medication and a certain dosage of it, but there’s a communication problem present, it can lead to a medication error. The individual may receive the wrong medication or the right medication at the wrong dosage. Either mistake can cause harm.

Poor information flow

Information must flow properly in medical settings. If it doesn’t, it can result in medical and medication errors and adversely affect patients. Usually, this happens when a patient is moved from one facility to another. For example, if someone is in a hospital for surgery but is mistakenly believed to have a medical condition, such as diabetes, when he or she doesn’t have that condition, the patient may be given medication he or she doesn’t need. This could result in serious problems.

Human problems

Human problems, such as negligence or a poor standard of care, can result in medication errors that harm patients. Mislabeling medications or improper documentation are two examples of human problems that can have serious repercussions.

Patient problems

Medical malpractice can occur as a result of patient issues. If a patient is improperly identified or not properly or adequately assessed, medication errors can occur.

Organizational transfer of knowledge

Sometimes, problems can happen when there are new or temporary employees in medical or health care facilities. When the transfer of knowledge is lacking, it can cause problems, including medication errors. Properly training newer or temporary employees can prevent those issues.

Staffing patterns and workflow

Although having too few employees doesn’t necessarily lead to medical errors, it can increase the risk that someone makes a mistake.

Technical failures

Technical failures can result in potential medication errors and the filing of medical malpractice claims. This can occur when equipment, implants or medical devices fail.

Inadequate policies

If a medical facility or other health care setting has inadequate policies or procedures or lacks them, it can result in errors.

These are the most common types of medication errors. When medical facilities and professionals aim to avoid these, it can greatly benefit patients.


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