Consequences of medical errors observed by family physicians

Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 1;67(5):915.


In two studies about medical errors, family physicians reported health, time, and financial consequences in nearly 85 percent of their error reports. Health consequences occurred when the error caused pain, extended or created illness, or placed patients, their families, and others at greater risk of harm. Care consequences included delayed diagnosis and treatment (sometimes of serious health conditions such as cancer), and disruptions to care that sometimes even resulted in patients needing care in a hospital. Other important consequences were financial and time costs to patients, health care providers, and the health system generally. However, sometimes no consequence was apparent.

MeSH terms

  • Family Practice / standards
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / adverse effects*
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • United States