Intended for healthcare professionals


Medication errors caused by junior doctors

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 28 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:456
  1. James McLay, senior lecturer in medicine and therapeutics,
  2. Sarah Ross, lecturer in medicine and therapeutics
  1. 1Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD

Association with depression and burn-out remains uncertain

The effects of medical errors on patient morbidity and mortality have been highlighted in the United Kingdom and the United States.1 2Preventable medication errors account for 10-20% of adverse events in patients admitted to hospital.1 In the UK, up to 1.5% of hospital prescriptions may contain a medication error, and a quarter of these could result in potentially serious effects.3 The situation is similar in Australia and the US—medication errors occur in about 1-2% of patients admitted to hospital, resulting in around 7000 deaths a year in the US alone.2 4

Although junior doctors are responsible for most medication errors in hospital,5 investigations to date have mainly focused on the role of system failures, rather …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription