stethoscope and gavel, medical malpractice

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Medical Errors?

Medicine of any kind is a serious endeavor that requires patience and extreme care. Healthcare professionals, from doctors and nurses to medical specialists of all kinds, spend years receiving their education and training. And yet, avoidable medical errors still happen. Why? Understanding the most common causes of medical errors will help you and your attorney put forth a compelling malpractice case.

A 2016 study by Johns Hopkins University estimates that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. Approximately 250,000 people die every year from medical mistakes. What’s more, these mistakes are preventable.

Medical malpractice, also called medical negligence, doesn’t simply mean that a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional made a mistake. Even in the best hospitals, with the best doctors, mistakes are possible. The law does not expect or require that your healthcare treatment will be perfect. Medical malpractice happens when the mistake in question is unreasonable. In other words, under the circumstances – and considering such factors as the nature of the treatment and the experience and education of your doctors – the error was wrongful in the eyes of the law.

Types of Medical Errors

There are different types of medical errors, and the following are just a few of them:

Common Reasons for These Mistakes

Among the most common reasons these and other mistakes occur are:

Staffing issues at hospitals, emergency rooms, and clinics. Not all healthcare facilities have an adequate number of staff members ready to handle high volume. An overwhelmed emergency room is less likely to carefully attend to the needs of its patients.

Not knowing the signs or symptoms to look for. You expect that your physician or other medical professionals will know what symptoms to look for so you can be properly treated. Yet many doctors, nurses, and others don’t know what to expect with their patients and therefore won’t address their issues properly.

Lack of proper training or experience. Similarly, some healthcare practitioners are not educated or trained to handle your specific medical needs. In a case like this, a reasonably careful medical professional will refer the patient to someone who does know how to treat you.

Miscommunication among doctors, nurses, and staff. Your medical care is usually a joint effort by numerous individuals. If there’s a miscommunication among your doctor, nurse, or staff, there’s a higher probability that a medical error will result.

Medical record and clerical errors. Sometimes, the mistake is due to an error in your medical files, or a clerical mistake. These can have far-reaching implications and complicate your treatment down the road.

Drugs or alcohol. Some of the worst cases of malpractice involve doctors and nurses who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while they treat a patient. Considering the diligence that’s required to care for someone, this can have fatal consequences. 

Too little sleep. Treating a patient after having too little sleep can also be dangerous, and have effects that are similar to drug or alcohol intoxication. Although doctors tend to be overworked and busy, they are required to have proper rest so they can care for their patients.

Contact Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Knowing the reason, or reasons, why medical malpractice happens will help you build a strong case in court. Remember, it’s up to the patient to explain how the doctor made the mistake in question and violated the duty of care. Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney is critical to proving your claim.

If you or a loved one were injured because of medical negligence, call Hale & Monico. We serve Illinois patients by demanding the compensation they deserve for their injuries.