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What Are Medical Errors?

Medical errors are mistakes in health care that could have been prevented. They can occur in hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, doctors' offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and your home. Errors can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, home treatment, equipment, or lab reports. They are often caused by a lack of good communication. Medical errors may result in injury or death.

Some examples of medical errors are:

  • Having surgery done on the wrong area of the body.
  • Getting the wrong meal while in the hospital, such as a regular meal when you need a salt-free meal.
  • Getting the wrong medicine or the wrong dose of medicine.
  • Getting a diagnosis or lab test that is not correct.
  • Not knowing what doctor instructions mean and doing the wrong thing.
  • Having a piece of medical equipment fail or not work the right way.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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