Medical Errors

Medical errors are inclusive of errors which are committed by medical care individuals as well as any other form of system errors. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), other definitions put forward on the description of medical errors include: “error of execution”, “error of planning” (Freisen, Farquhar and Hughes, n.d). The causes for medical errors are quite a number. Medical errors that are caused by medical personnel could be as a result of: lack of proper communication between the health care personnel. lack of proper communication between the patient (s) and the health care personnel. irresponsibility by the medical personnel in terms of prescriptions and dosages. handing out drugs over the counter without a sound doctor analysis. wrong drug administration. lack of following the mandated patient care policies. Communication is quite essential in a health care facility. In the event that there is a communication gap between the health care personnel, then problems are likely to occur. Lack of proper communication is likely to happen while writing out patients’ results or even while packaging or labelling drugs by their names and dosages. That is. a drug could be labelled wrongly and this could be interpreted differently by another medical personnel. A communication deficit could also occur between a patient (s) and the health care personnel. An example of such a situation is when the patient is describing their symptoms to the health care personnel. As a result, the words and expressions being used by the medical care expert could not actually be exactly what the patient is referring to. At that instance, a communication error occurs and this will in turn lead to wrong drug and dosage administration. Over the counter drugs (OTC) and prescriptions have also been known to cause fatal medical errors – this is due to the reason that the personnel responsible could be lacking adequate knowledge and experience in providing ample analysis of the symptoms that the patient has. As a result, they could either give the wrong drugs to the patient or provide an under-dose or an over-dose of the medicine. Following the mandated hospital policies and procedures is very essential. These policies and procedures include: providing organisation orientation to new medical staff, providing medical education to patients and ensuring that medical training is done effectively. The benefit of carrying out all these tasks is that they will reduce the total numbers of medical errors that occur. For example, if the health care facility acquires new equipment, the staff should be trained on how to properly use the equipment so as to alienate the possibility of system errors. In addition to that, patient education should be provided so as to educate them with information on how they could also avoid being victims of unwanted medical errors. In a 1993 to 1998 medical study that was conducted by FDA (2013), the results revealed that the most regular form of medical error was as a result of recklessness while giving out prescriptions and medical dosages – This accounted for 41%.

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