More Americans die each year as a result of medical errors than because of breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined, according to an article in Medical Xpress. While that statistic is concerning in itself, the total number of medical errors could be far greater. If a medical error doesn’t cause severe harm or death, it’s usually not reported.
Mistakes in dispensing medication are the most frequent types of medical errors, noted the article, and were a focus of a research team at the University of Iowa. The scientists created a computational method to predict when nurses were more or less likely to report errors when they didn’t result in severe harm or death. According to the report, the team focused on nurses because they are the ones administering or supervising about 40 percent of medications in a hospital setting.
The researchers identified three types of medical errors:
- When a mistake was caught and corrected before it was made
- When a mistake was made but there was no potential harm to a patient
- When a mistake was made and the patient could have been harmed but was not
Nurses had many reasons for failing to report errors, especially when no serious harm was done. These included fear of blame or retaliation from coworkers and management, whether the nurses felt they were an important part of the hospital, and whether they trusted their managers.
Medication error and other types of medical malpractice lawsuits require an experienced eye. If you have a case you would like to discuss, please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating personal injury cases throughout Pennsylvania.