Each year thousands of injuries and deaths in US hospitals result from medical errors. They cost millions of dollars annually and result in the loss of public confidence in the health-care system. Many of these errors are preventable. Although most of the information available about medical errors pertains to hospitalized patients, errors can occur anywhere in the health-care system (office, clinic, emergency department, or elsewhere). Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, students, manufacturers and even caregivers share responsibility.
Medication errors are the second most frequent and the second most expensive event causing liability claims. Erroneous orders on the inpatient unit and incorrect prescriptions in the emergency department and clinics are common.
Incredibly, many patients and families are not informed when an error occurs. For a variety of reasons, medical staff often fail to disclose their mistakes.
Committee of Quality According to the report Health Care in America, more people in the USA die in a given year as a result of medical errors than from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.
Errors involving medications have been reported in 4% to 17% of all US hospital admissions. Children are at particular risk of medication errors, in part because drug dosages depend on the size of a growing child and prescribing involves calculations.