It likely will shock you to learn that medical errors rank as the third leading cause of U.S. deaths. Given this frightening statistic, you need to know as much as possible about medical errors so you can take a proactive approach to your own health. 

AlwaysCulture.com lists the following as the most common types of medical errors you can expect to encounter: 

  • Failure to diagnose 
  • Misdiagnosis 
  • Failure to properly and timely treat 
  • Surgical and/or anesthesia errors 
  • Failure to properly read and/or act on test results 
  • Failure to properly monitor or take safety precautions 

Medical error locations 

Unfortunately, you can become the victim of medical malpractice in virtually any health care setting, including the following: 

  • Hospital 
  • Surgical center 
  • Clinic 
  • Doctor’s office 
  • Nursing home 
  • Pharmacy 

Root causes 

Many health care experts cite communication failures as the root cause of medical errors. When your doctor, your hospital and your pharmacist inadequately communicate between and among themselves, you face a grave risk. The same risk applies if your doctor fails to sufficiently communicate with you and answer your questions in layman’s terms so you understand your condition, your options, your treatment(s) and your medication(s), including when and how to take it or them. 

Never be afraid to ask your doctor numerous questions, especially when you feel you do not understand something (s)he tells you. This does not exhibit ignorance or hostility on your part. Rather, it lets your doctor know that you intend to fully participate in your own health care and well-being. Most physicians respect and welcome this active participation by their patients.