medical prescription error

What Are the Most Common Medical Errors?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Medical malpractice is a serious problem, with some sources estimating that between 25,000 and 120,000 people are killed every year because of medical malpractice incidents. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, a medical professional is accused of having acted negligently or maliciously when treating their patient(s), leading to one or more personal injuries.

Your California medical malpractice lawyer will help you identify the exact type of medical error or malpractice that led to your injuries. This page will break down the most common medical errors in California and across the US.


Misdiagnosis is by far the most common medical error overall, in part because some diagnoses are very difficult to get correctly. However, some medical professionals misdiagnose their patients because of negligence, lack of care, or lack of medical knowledge.

A misdiagnosis can be dangerous or even deadly for a patient, as it may lead to improper treatment for the patient’s core problem. Furthermore, a misdiagnosis may mean that a patient’s true illness or injury will not be treated right away, causing them to suffer further injuries as a result.

Delayed Diagnosis

A medical practitioner can also make a delayed diagnosis, which will prevent a patient from getting the treatment they need in a timely manner. As a result, they may suffer additional injuries or face more serious complications or symptoms.


Infection is a necessary risk in almost every medical procedure or hospital stay. However, if a medical practitioner does not do their duty correctly or fails to adhere to safety protocols, they may negligently cause an infection. For example, a nurse or doctor failing to wash their hands could be accused of medical malpractice because they may have introduced germs into a patient’s open wound during a surgical procedure.

Errors with Medication

Many medications are intended for specific uses or individuals, and prescribing the wrong medication (or giving a patient the wrong amount of medication) can be disastrous. Under some circumstances, errors with medication can lead to medical complications because of interactions with other drugs.

A medical practitioner can commit medical malpractice by:

  • Failing to consider a patient’s medical history
  • Not watching for allergic reactions or drug combination warnings
  • Administering the wrong dose of the medication
  • Not communicating dosage instructions to the next caregiver or nurse

These are only a few of the ways in which medical malpractice can occur when it comes to medication errors. 

Childbirth Errors

Even with modern medical technology, childbirth can be dangerous for women if they are not treated or overseen by skilled doctors. A medical practitioner can commit malpractice by causing any number of childbirth errors, including injuries to the mother or infant, administering dangerous dosages of painkillers, and more.

Bad Medical Device Implantation/Function

Some medical procedures require the implantation of a medical device, like a monitor. But a surgeon or a medical practitioner who implants a medical device incorrectly or in the wrong spot could commit medical malpractice. Medical devices can be unsafe when not implanted or used properly.

In all of these cases and more, a medical malpractice lawsuit requires skilled legal expertise so that you can prove negligence on the part of your doctor or another medical professional. Contact us today for more information and to schedule a free consultation. 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.