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Administrative errors in health care

If you have read or heard stories about someone who was given a wrong diagnosis by a doctor, experienced a problem during or after a surgery, or had some other negative result related to the delivery of their health care, you are likely wondering how possible it is for you to be hurt by a medical error. Many people in New York wonder the same thing, and with good reason.

The nature of a single medical error can range dramatically but people need to have a good understanding of just how broad the causes of these errors can be. Most people focus on errors that involve doctors, surgeons, nurses or other health care providers directly. Certainly these mistakes can and do happen, and they can cause serious harm or even death to patients. However, they are far from the only problems to be aware of.

As explained by, a good portion of the errors that happen are introduced by clerical or administrative staff, processes or technologies. What may seem like a simple data entry mistake can result in a person being denied coverage for an essential treatment or medication. Many systems still rely on human review of data and this review is rife for the potential to be wrong.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in New York a broader view of the types of practices that may be involved in a medical mistake so that they understand the importance of monitoring all interactions with providers and health systems.


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