Common Causes of Medical Errors & What You Can Do

images (1) The Florida Board of Medicine has a "One Strike - You're Out" Rule.  This means if a physician performs a surgery on the wrong patient, does a wrong procedure, wrong side or wrong site surgery, the physician loses his or her medical license. This law was enacted after an incident which occurred n 1995.  An orthopedist in Tampa amputated the wrong leg on  a patient. His medical license was suspended for three years.  After three years, the physician went back to the same hospital and amputated the wrong leg on another patient!

Common Medical Errors

According a US News & World Report publication dated March 20, 2015, medical errors claim more than 200,000 lives each year. Most medical errors are preventable.  According to this report, the top 5 preventable medical errors are:

  1. Medication Errors
  2. Too many blood transfusions
  3. Too much oxygen for premature babies
  4. Health-care associated infections
  5. lnfections from central lines

What You Can Do

Double check medication orders, the patient name, drug name, strength and dosage before you administer any medication. Then double check again.                                                      Be sure to always document the correct eye on the chart - especially when the patient is or may be scheduling surgery.  Many wrong site surgeries occur due to an error in charting.   You can't be too careful when caring for your patients.

When in doubt, double check and if anything doesn't seem right or if the patient questions the validity of orders STOP and don't do anything until you're certain everything is correct.