Strong Advocates
For the Injured And For A Safer Iowa

What are medical error rates of licensed physicians in Iowa?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

Medical errors occur more frequently than many might expect, and the situation demands attention in Iowa. These mistakes can range from minor to severe, impacting not just patients’ health but also affecting their families emotionally and financially.

A 2017 survey of over 1,000 Iowa residents showed that nearly one out of every five adults in the state reported a medical error related to their own care or that of a loved one. However, only one in four were notified of the mistake by their provider.

It’s troubling because these errors can lead to prolonged recovery times, increased medical costs or even life-threatening situations. The effects on individuals and families are profound, often causing distress and uncertainty.

Key information on medical errors in Iowa

The overall rate of medical errors in Iowa underscores a need for systemic improvements in healthcare delivery. Here are the top five types of mistakes identified:

  • Medication errors: Incorrect medication or dosage leading to adverse effects
  • Surgical errors: Operations on the wrong site or complications post-surgery
  • Diagnostic errors: Delayed, missed or incorrect diagnoses affecting treatment outcomes
  • Treatment errors: Inappropriate or incorrect treatment administered to patients
  • Equipment failures: Malfunctioning or misused medical equipment impacting patient care

These statistics are a call to action, illustrating critical areas where healthcare providers can improve to reduce the occurrence of medical errors.

Overcoming obstacles in medical error reduction

A study released late last year by the Iowa legislature outlines several significant obstacles to reducing medical errors in the state. These include:

  • A lack of standard definitions of medical errors
  • Limits to state reporting systems
  • A lack of comprehensive data as some errors are discovered only through medical malpractice lawsuits
  • Errors were mistakenly assigned to doctors and other care providers who did not commit them
  • Fear of punishment leads to reluctancy among healthcare professionals to report mistakes

These obstacles and others create a complex environment where reducing medical errors is challenging.

Patients play a critical role in their own care

You play a crucial part in ensuring safe and effective healthcare. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stay informed: Understand the common types of medical errors and learn the symptoms that might indicate a mistake.
  • Communicate effectively: Always share your complete medical history with your healthcare providers and ask questions if a treatment or diagnosis is unclear.
  • Seek second opinions: If a diagnosis or treatment plan seems questionable, consult another doctor to confirm.
  • Report concerns: If you believe an error has occurred, report it immediately to the healthcare facility or a relevant authority.

By taking these proactive steps, you contribute to enhancing the quality of healthcare not just for yourself but everyone else. Finally, seek legal guidance from attorneys experienced in medical malpractice who understand how to hold healthcare professionals accountable.