Causes of Diagnostic Errors Leading to Harm in Emergency Department; a Brief Report
Iranian Journal of Emergency Medicine,
Vol. 6 No. 1 (2019),
Introduction: Despite the considerable advances in medical diagnosis and treatment, treatment staff errors show an increasing trend, which can lead to decline in people’s trust and rise in stress and anxiety among patients. The present study was performed with the aim of assessing the causes of diagnostic errors leading to complaints from emergency medicine specialists from 2012 to 2017 .Methods: In the present cross-sectional study, 100 files that were referred to the forensic medicine unit were evaluated. The data gathering tool was a researcher-made checklist, using which the demographic data of the patients and the type of error were extracted from the patients’ profiles. Data were coded and entered to SPSS software, version 20, after gathering and then reported using descriptive statistics. Results: In this study, the medical profiles of 100 patients who had filed complaints due to medical errors, in which a medical error was confirmed, were evaluated. In terms of sex distribution, 67% of the patients were male and 50% of the individuals were in the 30 – 59 years age range. 32% of the errors were due to the physician not ordering laboratory tests, 37% were due to errors in examination, and 31 were due to errors in interpretation of the test results. In the level of diagnostic error and ordering diagnostic tests, the most important cause of error was that the physician did not believe testing was necessary for diagnosis. In the stage of examination and history taking also incomplete physical examination by the physician was the most important cause of error. Among the most important factors affecting medical error incidence in the studied files, judgment with 58%, changing shifts without providing information about the patients with 45%, workload with 38%, and the patient not cooperating with 29% were the most important cognitive, communicative, systemic, and patient-related factors, respectively. Conclusion: Error in judgment regarding need for ordering diagnostic tests or further imaging, error in shift handover and not providing information regarding the patients for the next shift, overcrowding and heavy workload in the emergency department, and patients not cooperating were among the most important underlying factors in incidence of errors in the emergency department.
- forensic medicine
- diagnostic errors
- medical errors
How to Cite
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