On the basis of generally accepted characteristics of a medical error in the provision of medical services objective and subjective reasons for their formation should be considered. Specialists need to understand that the objective causes of medical errors are provoked by a large group of external factors. As for the subjective reasons, they depend on many internal factors. Of course, in emergencies and accidents the probability of becoming a victim of medical errors is higher than in quiet time, with a thoughtful choice of treatment in a cozy office, having the results of all the necessary tests.
From the point of view of the external factors analysis there are the causes of medical error, it is, first of all, the work performed by the specialist under the influence of an error. This activity is expressed in the deviations from special acts and regulations (organisational and technical standards) that can cause or causes adverse effects to the patient. The risk of making a mistake is ghost following a doctor at all stages of care.
Quite often in medical practice there are cases when a patient goes to a doctor, having several issues, but the doctor is capable of recognising only one of them, and unfortunately, unrecognised disease becomes the cause of erroneous treatment. The consequences of such errors are sometimes the cause of death. An example of a typical error is the following case.
The lethal outcome caused not by the diagnosed and treated condition
A 45 years old patient in unconscious state was brought to the emergency room of one of the Leeds hospitals. In connection with the specific symptoms the patient was transferred to a specialist unit, accompanied by two specialists. Given the heavy unconsciousness, he was immediately examined by a neurologist on duty, therapist, and by resuscitator later on. As a result of collaboration and urgent diagnostics, it was found that the severity of the patient is not caused by chronic alcoholism with fatty liver, which he suffered from for the past 10 years, but diabetes, flowing on the background of the disease. The intensive care initiated emergency insulin treatment; however, it was too late – a diabetic coma happened, against which the patient died within 8 hours from the start of hospitalisation.
Naturally, such situations provide objective grounds for complaints and allegations of improper health care. Even this case, according to one of the specialists represented at one of the largest medical negligence solicitors catalogs, who asked not to disclose the name, convinced us there’s a strong position for filing a legal claim and the positive outcome chances are pretty good. From the point of view of the consumer health care – the patient, the doctor has no right to make mistakes, which also does not correspond to reality. But that’s just the paradox of the situation where both parties, providers and consumers, have strong arguments and the legal borders are quite blurred.