Typically, when people picture medical malpractice, they think of obvious errors made during surgery. Often, however, the most harmful mistakes occur at completely unexpected points in the medical process. Clerical errors, in particular, are to blame for a shocking number of medical malpractice cases. Read on to learn about the most common types of clerical errors — and why they’re so dangerous:
Whether it occurs in the lab or at the pharmacy, mislabeling can cause huge problems. This common error takes many forms; medical professionals may accidentally mislabel test results, diagnoses, or prescriptions. One wrong number or abbreviation can cause a world of trouble for patients, their loved ones, and the medical professionals who work so hard to promote viable treatments.
Overworked health care professionals are vulnerable to seemingly ‘minor’ mistakes as they report on recently completed procedures. For example, an exhausted surgeon may claim to have operated on the wrong side of a patient’s body. Even if the surgeon performed admirably at the time of the operation, related transcription errors could cause huge problems down the road. Those who report correctly aren’t invulnerable; many use voice recognition software, which is far from perfect.
While coding is typically thought of as a financial or insurance-based issue, it can also hold significant implications for the quality of care patients receive, and more notably, whether they return for follow-up care. Incorrect coding could lead to rejected insurance payments, which may discourage patients from seeking medical attention when they need it most. Patients may also fail to seek necessary care if billed for services they never receive.
When clerical errors cause suffering, justice must be served. Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help. Reach out today to learn more about our track record in medical malpractice.