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5 common medical errors in the United States

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

When patients need surgery or other medical procedures or get a prescription medication, they expect everything to go well. Unfortunately, medical errors do happen, and they happen often.

According to research, as many as 251,000 patients in America die each year due to medical errors. Furthermore, less than 10 percent of medical errors are reported. Below are five common medical errors that occur in the United States.

Nosocomial infection

Sometimes patients get a nosocomial infection, which they pick up from a hospital or another health care facility. Factors that contribute to these infections include urinary catheters and breathing machines that are improperly used or cleaned. Patients typically become ill within 48 hours after going to the hospital, and their health will deteriorate if they do not receive treatment for the infection.

Prescription medication error

Many prescription medication errors occur either due to communication issues or diagnostic mistakes. Some of these errors involve incorrect medication, incorrect dosage and receiving medication when it isn’t necessary.

Anesthesia error

Anesthesiologists need to be extremely careful when administering anesthesia to surgical patients. Patients receiving too little anesthesia will likely wake up during the surgical procedure. Alternatively, they can become permanently disabled or die if they receive too much.

Surgical errors

Sometimes, surgeons make errors because of everything from record mix-ups to fatigue. Common examples include the following:

  • Removing the wrong limb
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Performing the wrong procedure

There are many more things that can go wrong during surgery.


Some patients are diagnosed with the wrong illness. A misdiagnosis is usually due to false positives from medical tests.

Medical professionals can prevent errors by following protocols like good hygiene, getting sufficient rest and communicating well with patients. Sadly, some unintentionally or deliberately ignore the rules, putting patients at risk. If you or a loved one suffered an illness or injury due to a medical error, it helps to reach out for legal guidance.