Hospitals and doctors are expected to maintain thorough medical records for their patients. Because they include thorough medical histories, descriptions of the patients’ usual prescriptions, and information on any potential allergies, medical records are crucial. Even minor inaccuracies or omissions in a patient’s medical file could cause significant harm or death.
In general, where a patient’s injury or death was brought on by mistakes or omissions in their medical record, the patient or their surviving family member may have a strong case for medical malpractice.
Medical Record Errors Are Dangerous
In medical records, you will find just what you would expect: a record of a patient’s health and medical background. Depending on the person, these records may contain details regarding diagnoses and drugs, drinking patterns, family medical history, and allergies. Whatever the case, these records are essential for registering and obtaining medical care.
Mistakes in medical records occur with alarming regularity. Although these mistakes happen quite commonly, they can have significant consequences for patients. Serious mistakes of the following kinds could cause harm:
- Failure to correctly note a patient’s existing medications, even herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs
- Inclusion of incorrect diagnostic information
- Insufficient or incorrect information about allergies
- Omissions of allergy information
- Other omissions from medical records
- Transcription errors
Incorrect contact information, such as a wrong name, address, or phone number, may cause problems getting bills or test results. These mistakes in medical records can lead to difficulties, harmful drug interactions, life-threatening allergic responses, or inappropriate treatments.
These issues can result in the patient’s death or severe harm. Therefore, these errors must be discovered and fixed immediately to prevent potential damage.
In fact, many healthcare providers are using touchless biometric patient identification platforms like RightPatient. These ensure that patients’ EHRs are identified properly – improving patient safety and maintaining patient data integrity.
Types of Medical Record Errors
The following are some common errors in medical records.
Some misspelled words won’t affect a patient’s health. Thus they might not need to be fixed. But when it comes to exchanging records among doctors, mistakes in spelling a patient’s name, for instance, can be problematic and should be corrected immediately.
If inaccurate test findings or other diagnostic mistakes are recorded in medical records, patients may receive treatment for illnesses they do not have.
Records may become confused if two patients with the same name are treated. It is possible to put a patient’s history and information in the incorrect file or to give the incorrect person the incorrect file entirely.
It’s possible for records to disappear or for false information to get lost in the shuffle when medical histories are lengthy and complex, especially those of senior citizens. Records can become jumbled when decades’ worth of data is at stake.
Incorrect Contact Information
Incorrect or outdated phone numbers and addresses can make it difficult to bill patients or reach them with lab results or treatment changes.
Medical Malpractice Due to Medical Record Errors
When a medical provider or providers negligently neglect to enter crucial information or to check the medical record before delivering care, harming the patient, errors in the patient’s medical records may qualify as malpractice.
Maintaining the accuracy of medical records is essential, and medical facilities and hospitals could be held ultimately liable for any errors made in the victims’ medical records by their medical staff. In a medical malpractice case based on medical records, medical practitioners may also be held accountable if they neglect to thoroughly evaluate the patient’s file or act carelessly and enter false information into it.
Misdiagnoses, incorrect medicine dosages, the delivery of pharmaceuticals that interact dangerously or have severe allergic reactions, and other issues can result from medical mistakes in a patient’s medical records. Other medical carelessness in the patient’s treatment may also be grounds for legal action in medical malpractice cases, including inaccuracies in medical records.
It can be extremely dangerous when drug errors occur in a patient’s medical records. Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines can interact negatively with other pharmaceuticals in harmful ways. The patient could suffer serious harm if a drug is prescribed to them that interacts with anything else they are currently taking but wasn’t listed in the medical record, if the patient’s list of medications doesn’t include everything they are currently taking, including any over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements.
Due to this, patients must bring a comprehensive list of all of their current prescriptions, including any over-the-counter drugs, to their doctor’s office or the hospital. To ensure that their medical records include a complete list of the medications they are taking, they should carefully review this list with their nurses and doctors.
Failure to adequately disclose a patient’s allergies is another frequent inaccuracy in medical records. When patients get medications to which they are allergic, they run the risk of dying from anaphylaxis. Patients should make sure their doctors and the medical staff are aware of any allergies they know they have, as well as any chemicals to which they have previously experienced allergic reactions, much like they should do when reading the list of prescriptions.
Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Physicians, nurses, hospitals, and other service providers must guarantee the accuracy of their patient’s medical records.
You might have a strong case for medical malpractice if you sustained catastrophic injuries due to an error in your medical records or your doctor’s failure to thoroughly analyze your medical history. Cases involving medical negligence are typically complicated and call for the assistance of medical professionals.
Attorneys for medical malpractice can assist in establishing irresponsible medical practitioners’ responsibility so they can be fully compensated.