Thanks to their job, medical professionals are among the most trusted lot in the world. However, just like other humans, doctors are error-prone. Once in awhile, even with the high-tech scan machines, sonograms, and even sophisticated laboratory tests, mistakes could and do occur in the medical field. While life-threatening errors seldom happen, some medical blunders occur more frequently than others. It is, therefore, imperative for both doctors and patients to be alive to some of these common pitfalls that include:
Even the best doctors sometimes fail to diagnose a medical problem correctly. Studies have indicated that medical practitioners initially misdiagnose about 15 percent of medical complications. A study published in 2003 listed cancer, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, acute renal failure, and urinary tract infections among most misdiagnosed diseases.
According to a Consumer Reports survey, misdiagnoses happen twice as frequently in medical practitioners’ offices than in hospitals.
A report by Newman-Toker shows that every year, about 160,000 patients admitted to hospitals either succumb or suffer permanent injuries due to misdiagnosis, late arrivals or total neglect by medical practitioners.
In both offices and hospitals, medical professionals may fail to record a patient’s information correctly or, sometimes, confuse patients with similar identities. This mix-up has serious ramifications as it leads to the administration of the wrong drugs to patients.
It is important for medical practitioners to make sure they confirm the identity of their patients including names, birth dates, and the barcodes on the patient’s’ wristbands. If two or more patients have a common name, it is important to take extra caution.
Doctors’ offices and hospitals can be host millions of germs if hygiene is inappropriately addressed. It is the onus of the medical practitioners to ensure that anyone they come into contact with wash their hands. Fomites also harbor numerous pathogens and one should wash hands properly after handling them.
Common mistakes that go along with drug administration include administration of wrong dosages, drug prescription failures, and inability to identify hitches with equipment that administer dosages. Medical practitioners should be vigilant of medication mistakes or drug administration that can cause serious injury or death.
Errors made during surgery can be the most awe-inspiring of all. There have been numerous cases of doctors performing wrong operations, hurting vital organs during surgery, neglecting post-operation care, and, most commonly, leaving surgical tools inside the patient’s’ bodies after operations.
Surgical gaffers often lead to infection, unnecessary procedures, and painful recoveries.
While medical mistakes are rare, they can happen. Medical practitioners should try hard to avoid those that could be caused by negligence.