Most Montana residents entering an emergency room or hospital are under the impression that it is a safe place and he or she will receive necessary and proper care for their illness or injury. While medical professionals frequently provide adequate care to patients, unfortunate events could occur. When medical negligence occurs, a patient could suffer new or worsened conditions or even die as a result of these errors.

What are the most common preventable medical errors? The most common preventable medical error is a medication or prescription error. This occurs when the wrong drug is prescribed or the wrong dose is administered. The best way to avoid this is by having all members of the medical staff dealing with that patient making sure it is the right drug and dose before it is administered to the patient.

The next most common preventable medical error is too many blood transfusions. In a 2011 study, this was deemed inappropriate in 60 percent of transfusions globally. This procedure boosts the risk of infections, death and diseases.

The third most common medical error is administering too much oxygen to premature babies. While oxygen is considered necessary, its administration is a lot like the administration of a drug – too much is bad and too little is bad. An overdose of oxygen could cause blindness; therefore, it is important to understand the amount the premature baby requires. This standard is based on the baby’s weight and should be followed specifically to avoid this error.

Healthcare-associated infections are the next most common preventable medical error. About 1 in every 25 hospital patients contract an infection from the hospital he or she was receiving care at. Reminding medical professionals to wash his or her hands is the most effective solution for this medical error.

Lastly, infections from central lines are the fifth most common preventable medical error. Tubes inserted into large veins help transport medicine or fluid into the patient; however, they also create a route for bacteria to get into the blood or the bladder of the patient. Medical staff often forget these lines, ensuring they are adequately placed, maintained and taken out.

While this list is not exhaustive, the above information highlights common preventable medical errors that both patients and medical professionals should be aware of. When medical negligence harms a patient, they might be able to file a medical malpractice claim for losses and damages.

Source:, “5 Common Preventable Medical Errors,” Anna Medaris Miller, Mar. 30, 2015