When Americans fall ill, they turn to health care facilities and medical experts to assist them. Unfortunately, many people suffer further injury and even lose their lives, instead of getting better. Coupled with the growing cost of health care, people have begun to view health care providers with some level of suspicion.
According to NBC News, one in 10 patients suffers further injury when seeking medical attention almost anywhere in the world. Health care providers could prevent roughly half of these cases of inflicting harm. Of these preventable cases, 12% led to either death or permanent disability.
The most common medical errors
Some types of errors presented themselves more often than others when researchers dug deeper into existing studies. For instance, 23% of medical injuries occurred during surgical procedures. Even worse than this, 49% of the recorded incidents resulted from drugs and other forms of therapy.
The two main types of errors
A study published in 2020 by the U.S. National Library of Medicine identifies two main types of errors. Errors of commission occur when a health care professional makes the wrong decision and/or takes the wrong action. In contrast, errors of omission occur when health care professionals fail to follow specific steps in a procedure, such as not properly strapping someone in on a gurney.
The study also found several reasons why health care professionals did not report as many of these incidents as they should. One common reason is fear of retaliation. Others might argue semantics, seeing the word “error” as antagonistic. Families might argue that neither of these reasons compares to the profound feelings of loss and grief they grapple with whether they suffer disabilities or lose a loved one.