Medical Errors

Essay by chris6878University, Master's October 2008

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Medical errors can be defined as the failure of a planned action to beCompleted as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim.

(To Err is Human, 1999).

An enhanced care delivery system must be built, one that can preventerrors from occurring in the first place. To do this, the health care industrymust simultaneously set up an easy and streamlined way for healthcare professionals to acquire and share information related to error preventionAnd quality improvement.

(Patient Safety: Achieving A New Standard for Care, ).

Efforts to decrease errors in health care are directed at prevention rather than at managing a situation when a mistake has occurred. Consequently, nurses and other health care providers may not know how to respond properly and may lack sufficient support to make a healthy recovery from the mental anguish and emotional suffering that often accompany making mistakes. (Crigger, N.J.,


In summary, medical mistakes put doctors in a difficult position. Admitting mistakes may make them vulnerable to lawsuits and loss of reputation. However, it can be difficult to deal with the remorse and shame of medical mistakes alone. Doctors may order more tests than necessary to avoid mistakes and may lie and cover up mistakes, possibly adding to their feelings of guilt. (duPre, 2005).

The simple statement 'Health care in the United States is not as safe as it should be' (To Err Is Human, 1999) should pack the punch of a national alert. By publishing 'To Err is Human: Building A Safer Health System", the Institute of Medicine in effect did exactly that. For reasons not difficult to understand, there is a general perception within the public eye that the manner in which and the place in which needed healthcare is provided, is 'safe'.

Taken together,