oa Professional Nursing Today - Quality of care series Number 1 : Medical error of care

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1607-6672



Medical error is a term used to describe an incident that happens by mistake during medical care which may, but does not necessarily, result in temporary or permanent, physical or psychological harm to an individual. A number of other terms are also used to describe such incidents such as an adverse outcome or adverse event, unintended harm or mistake. Examples of medical errors include operating on the wrong side of the body during surgery, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose a condition, or incorrect administration of medication. There are also occasions when harm is caused through negligent behaviour or with the explicit intention of causing harm, though these are rare. A medical error can occur at any point during the course of care (see Figure 1).

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