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What Are the Most Fatal Medical Errors?

February 15, 2022Medical Malpractice

Every year, thousands of people suffer serious and debilitating injuries due to the negligence of healthcare professionals. In some devastating cases, these medical errors can be fatal. In fact, some studies estimate that as many as 251,000 deaths occur each year due to medical mistakes in the United States alone. 

Some of the most fatal medical errors include surgical mistakes, medication errors, and misdiagnosis. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a medical professional, you may be eligible for legal action.

Medication Errors

When prescribing or administering medication, medical providers have a duty to ensure that it is the correct drug and dosage for the patient. They must also ensure that the medication will not interact dangerously with other drugs in the patient’s system and that the patient is not allergic to it.

Unfortunately, some providers make dangerous mistakes while giving medications to patients. A patient may overdose or suffer from a severe allergic reaction or drug interaction, leading to death. If a patient receives the wrong medication or dosage, his or her condition could worsen to a fatal point.

Surgical Mistakes

Surgeries are complex and delicate procedures. Surgeons must ensure that they are performing the correct surgery, in the right location, on the correct patient. They must use safe best practices and uphold the medical standard of care while performing the procedure.

Many mistakes and errors can occur during a surgery, leading to life-threatening complications and devastating patient fatalities. Examples of fatal surgical mistakes include the following.

  • Perforating an organ during surgery
  • Using unsanitary or dirty tools
  • Using defective medical equipment or devices
  • Leaving foreign objects inside of a patient’s body
  • Administering too much anesthesia
  • Failure to monitor a patient’s heart rate or vital signs


A fast and accurate diagnosis is key to help patients receive the treatment that they need. Delayed treatment can lead to a worsening condition and a poorer prognosis than if the patient received care from the beginning.

Medical providers may misdiagnose patients or fail to accurately diagnose a condition, even when a patient is experiencing common symptoms. If a provider makes a mistake while diagnosing a patient and the patient later dies from his or her condition, the provider may be liable for the patient’s death

Hospital-Acquired Infections

Hospitals are epicenters of disease. As a result, employees have a duty to maintain safe, clean, and sterilized premises. Medical tools, equipment, and surfaces must be routinely cleaned and sanitized. Healthcare providers must ensure that they wash their hands regularly and practice good hygiene.

Unfortunately, some medical providers and facilities fail to maintain clean premises. As a result, patients can acquire dangerous infections that lead to dangerous and sometimes life-threatening complications. 

Common types of hospital-acquired infections include the following.

  • Surgical site infections
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections

Contact an August Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you plan on pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit following a loved one’s death, you need a lawyer on your side. An Augusta medical malpractice lawyer with experience handling wrongful death claims can represent your case and help you secure the compensation that you and your family deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.