Medical mistakes or rather Medical errors may be described as human errors which often occur in the healthcare. It occurs when healthcare providers use methods of care which are inappropriate or when they improperly execute an appropriate method of care. Medical errors are ranked number three in the leading causes of deaths in the United States of America after heart diseases and cancer. These errors cause over 98,000 deaths each year.
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Medical errors that cause many deaths range from surgical complications that most of times go unrecognized to dose mix ups in the medication type a patient receives. People do not just die from bacteria or heart attacks, they die from poorly coordinated care and these poses a concern to put efforts in reforming the health systems in order to ensure more safety, high value and high quality medical care in the United States.
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Patient safety efforts have not successfully gained much traction as there are no systematic efforts which have been put in place to studythese errors and put effective guidelines in place. Throughout the world, medical errors contributing to deaths of patients has been under-recognized epidemic. Medical error is a lapse in judgment, coordination or skill of care which involves wrong diagnoses, failure in systems leading to patient death or failure to rescue a dying patient (Kachalia, Allen & David Bates, 2014).
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Medical errors are preventable. Whether evident or not, it is harmful to the patient, it is poses an adverse effect to the medical care. It relates to lack of education or experience, incompetency, language barriers, illegible handwriting, inaccurate documentation, gross negligence and sometimes fatigue. Some errors may range from misdiagnosis, medication error, under or over treatment and at times medical mishaps. Medical errors may also be associated with urgency, extremes of age, new procedures and also the severity of the medical condition which is being dealt with.
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Medical mistakes are happening more frequently over time as since 1999 study estimated 98,000 iatrogenic deaths which made it sixth leading cause of deaths in the United States. In 2010 it yielded almost twice mat 180,000 deaths. Most recent study contacted in 2013 showed numbers ranging from 210,000 to 440,000 deaths per year. However, it is difficulty to assume which number is accurate as these deaths are only extrapolated and estimated.
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Steps aimed to reduce medical errors in United States
However, Federal Agencies should come up with strategies and actions in order to reduce the medical errors by 50% if not 100%. To reach such goals, a multipronged approach must be developed that should involve all the main stake holders in the health care system. Reorienting the training and education of doctors to sensitize them in clinical risk management and also help in improving their communication skills (Tehrani & Ali Saber, 2013). The introduction and development of Critical Incidents Reporting Systems in all the institutions which provide health care can help to solve the problem. Also development of new tools and refining of the existing tools aimed to improve patient safety will help in minimizing the cases of medical errors. Steps aimed to systematically disclose errors about injured patients and also their families in order to increase the transparency and build trust among all the stake holders in the health sector should be put in place too.
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Federal Agencies should ensure that the entire traditional civil liability regime which is based on an individual fault are removed from the system and a no fault compensation system is put in place. In United States, the former President Bill Clinton ordered the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force to come up with a plan aimed to reduce incidences of medical mistakes which together with Federal Agencies helped in bringing improvements in the health sectorin the United States (Graber & Mark, 2013).
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