It may not seem like something that can cause too many problems, but paperwork errors can cost someone their life. One small mistake can lead to a doctor taking an entirely different course of action on a patient—a course of action that is not the right one. A paperwork error can cause a medical professional to treat a patient for a condition incorrectly, fail to treat a patient at all for a condition, or treat a patient unnecessarily for something they do not even have. For example, something as simple as their weight being misprinted in their records can result in improper medication dosages.
A failure to diagnose a condition occasionally happens due to not noticing clinical symptoms or misreading an X-ray, mammogram or other medical test. Records and paperwork may have been misplaced by a lab or in the physician's office. It is shocking to realize how a paperwork mistake can put a patient’s life at risk. Even when a physician notices any paperwork errors at a later date—if it ever happens— a lack of realizing this quickly enough will often still put a patient's health and life at risk.
Did you know?
Although most paperwork errors are accidental and due to someone’s negligence, there have been cases of paperwork errors being intentional.
A recent medical malpractice case featured medical professionals forging documents to hide the fact that patients were getting infections from hip replacements.