Medical Errors and Errors in Healthcare Delivery

Medical error can be defined as any mistake in the delivery of care, by any healthcare professional, regardless of outcome. The specific reference to outcome is important because errors can result in actual adverse outcomes for patients or near misses. Adverse events are injuries that are caused by medical management rather than the underlying disease. They prolong hospitalization, produce a disability at discharge, or both. While the media tend to highlight the catastrophic injuries that result from medical error, there is often little understanding of the context of the clinical decision making in practice. Healthcare is an inherently uncertain and dynamic environment. Individual patients vary in their responses to treatment, and their health status can change rapidly with little warning. Clinical knowledge is frequently distributed ...

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