Medical errors are considered to be improper acts or omissions in the performance of professional duties by a health care worker, which are not the result of bad faith and do not have signs of a crime or misdemeanor.
The concept of ‘medical error’ itself is not new, and even the appropriate penalties have been issued throughout the history of mankind. In Roman law the term ‘error’ was widely used, including the cases related to medical practice (Aquilia law). The concept included inexperience, negligence, and failure to provide assistance. In the 19th century progressive doctors have seen throughout the analysis and study of medical errors came to a conclusion that their elimination bears a major potential for healthcare area improvement. Ralph Emerson wrote that every conscientious person, especially a teacher, must have an inner need to publish error and therefore warn less competent people.
Medical errors are found in the work of physicians of all specialties, without exceptions. The types of errors include organisational, diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic errors. Unfortunately, sometimes in the course of treatment of the patient even several medical errors can be made. The reasons for medical errors can be objective and subjective. Among the most important objective reasons, we should list the volatility of certain postulates and principles in the field of theoretical and practical medicine, and therefore change the views of any etiology, pathogenesis, treatment of diseases. Even experienced physicians may be misled by wrong results of the study, for example, by clearly-established metrological maintenance of operated medical equipment. The lack of objective conditions necessary for examination or initiation of treatment or not enough efficient organisation of work in the hospital may also be the reasons for errors. Although the objective causes of medical errors sufficiently studied, they can not always be prevented. And according to the statistics in medical negligence solicitors niche, the growth tendency in medical negligence in the UK is going to be preserved within the next five years (£780ml. annually is the cost of medical negligence for the budget).
Among the subjective reasons of medical errors, the largest group is caused by lack of sufficient medical expertise, but can not be qualified as ignorance. A modern Swiss therapist R.M. Hegglin notes that medical errors can be caused by insufficiently constructive thinking, infallibility of diagnosis, preconceptions, pride and indecision of character, as well as the desire to put an ‘offbeat diagnosis’, or excessive pessimism/optimism.
Among the causes of medical errors the negative impact of inevitably increasing specialisation of medicine should also be noted, sometimes restricting medical horizons, leading to a lack of a holistic perception of the patient. This in turn leads to an underestimation of history, to the fetish of instrumental and laboratory tests, the appearance of overestimation of diagnostic capabilities in some experts, due to a lack of continuity between the growing number of different medical institutions.