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A lot of people hold a general belief that most medical professionals are competent and skilled people. This certainly holds true for the large majority of them. Unfortunately, that does not negate the fact that medical errors are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans every year; estimated between 250,000 and 440,000 annually. 

These numbers confirm the fact that medical errors are the third most common killer in the U.S. after cancer and heart disease. This is all proof that there must be more advocates for patient safety and better legislation. Here are some common types of medical errors that can have fatal results.

1. Misdiagnosis

Receiving a correct diagnosis is necessary for a patient to get proper treatment for a condition. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors are common. A wrong diagnosis may cause a delay in treatment or inadequate treatment, often with deadly consequences.

2. Medication mistakes

Drug errors can take place in a variety of settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Pharmacies
  • Nursing homes
  • In-home care

When a patient gets the wrong medication or improper dose, the outcomes can be disastrous. 

3. Surgical errors

Surgery is a delicate process that requires the most careful attention. If the surgeon or nurse is negligent, there are so many things that can go wrong. Operating on the wrong body part and leaving sponges inside of a patient’s body are two types of horror stories that should never happen – but, unfortunately, they do. 

4. Infections

Medical professionals can prevent and treat infections, but they can also cause and fail to resolve them. Patients may acquire an infection from surgeries, IVs and catheters. Many infections involve deadly bacteria. 

5. Unnecessary treatment

Not all treatment is necessary. When a doctor makes a mistake, especially in regard to a diagnosis, a patient may undergo needless operations, procedures or medications. 

The fact that medical mistakes result in so many injuries and deaths is astounding. Negligent doctors must be held accountable for malpractice.