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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medical Error Prevention: Patient Safety. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Medical Errors

Medical errors are mistakes medical professionals make in patient testing, care, or treatment. Categories of medical errors include:
  • Failures of planned actions
  • Mistakes of execution
  • Use of wrong plans to achieve outcomes
There are two types of medical errors:
  • Errors of commission
  • Errors of omission
Errors of commission are medical errors involving wrong actions. Mislabeling a test specimen, drawing a blood sample from the wrong patient, or incubating a test at an incorrect temperature are all errors of commission.
Errors of omission are medical errors that occur when an individual fails to act. In the laboratory setting, errors of omission include such things as omitting a reagent in a test, failing to communicate a critical test result, and failing to collect a timed test sample at the correct time.