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Common medical errors that could harm patients

There are a number of mistakes that medical professionals in Iowa might make that could be harmful to patients. For example, there could be errors in dosing, prescribing or filling medications. Some patients may get infections from medical professionals who do not wash their hands as frequently as they should despite using latex gloves. Infections can also be contracted through ventilators or not taking out a urinary catheter early enough. Other types of errors involving equipment include mixing up a chest tube with a feeding tube, introducing air bubbles into the bloodstream via IV injections or syringe, and taking a breathing tube out too early after surgery.

There are several surgical errors that could be made. Two women in one hospital had similar names, and surgeons nearly operated on the wrong one. Surgeons may get the right patient but operate on the wrong site or leave equipment, such as a sponge, behind in a patient.

Many errors happen because medical professionals are tired and overworked, and overcrowded emergency rooms can contribute to this. In some cases, a patient may not get treatment quickly enough. Some doctors may ignore symptoms of serious illnesses. Others may make errors that colleagues might notice but may hesitate to correct. Finally, some patients may be overdiagnosed and overmedicated because doctors fear they will miss a diagnosis.

Some medical errors are caught quickly enough or are not serious enough to result in harm to the patient. However, those that do cause harm could be cases of medical malpractice if the patient has not received a reasonable standard of care. Taking time to diagnose a complex illness like multiple sclerosis may not be malpractice, but misreading tests, ignoring obvious symptoms or prescribing the wrong medication might be. Patients who have suffered from doctors' errors might want to talk to an attorney about their options.

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