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Reducing the 7 types of medication errors

The criminalization of medical errors has added a new layer to reducing harm

Across the world of healthcare, everyone is wrestling with how to reduce medication errors.

After a former Vanderbilt nurse was found guilty of homicide in a medication error death, there is now the added fear of potential prosecution for administering an incorrect medication. Join the MCHD Paramedic Podcast crew as they try to better define the various types of medication errors while looking at what the literature says about medication errors in EMS.

Together, they identify 7 types of medication errors and their causes:

  1. Organizational
  2. Equipment
  3. Environmental
  4. Procedural
  5. Communication
  6. Patient Related
  7. Cognitive

Watch for more: On-demand webinar: Don’t become a cautionary tale: EMS litigation update. Wolfberg and Wirth on how to avoid legal pitfalls


  1. Walker D, Moloney C, SueSee B, Sharples R, Blackman R, Long D, Hou XY. Factors Influencing Medication Errors in the Prehospital Paramedic Environment: A Mixed Method Systematic Review. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2022 Jun 27:1-18.
  2. Morrow D, North R, Wickens CD. Reducing and Mitigating Human Error in Medicine. Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics. 2005;1(1):254-296.
  3. Hoyle JD Jr, Crowe RP, Bentley MA, Beltran G, Fales W. Pediatric Prehospital Medication Dosing Errors: A National Survey of Paramedics. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2017 Mar-Apr;21(2):185-191.
  4. Misasi P, Keebler JR. Medication safety in emergency medical services: approaching an evidence-based method of verification to reduce errors. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2019 Jan 21
  5. Reason J. Human error: models and management. BMJ. 2000 Mar 18;320(7237):768-70.

The MCHD Paramedic Podcast was launched in early 2018 in an effort to provide easily consumable core-content EMS education and insights from prehospital care thought leaders. The Clinical Services Department of The Montgomery County Hospital District EMS service developed the podcast as a tool to better engage and disseminate continuing education to our MCHD medics as well as first responders and EMS professionals nationwide.

Dr. Casey Patrick is the assistant medical director for Montgomery County Hospital District EMS and is a practicing emergency physician in multiple community emergency departments across Greater Houston. His EMS educational focus is on innovative paramedic teaching via the MCHD Paramedic Podcast. Dr. Patrick’s prehospital clinical research involves the investigation of paramedic use of bolus dose intravenous nitroglycerin for acute pulmonary edema and the implementation of lung protective ventilation strategies for intubated EMS patients. Casey and his wife, Alyssa, work and live in Conroe, Texas, and Spokane, Washington. Together they have five children: Mia, Ainsley, Brock, Dean and Will.

Dr. Dickson graduated with honors from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio in 2001 and completed emergency medicine training at Indiana University in 2004. He serves as the EMS medical director at Montgomery County Hospital District EMS and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His academic interests include systems of care in stroke and other time-sensitive emergencies, neurologic emergencies and education. He is board certified in emergency medicine in both the U.S. and Australasia, and has subspecialty board certification in EMS medicine. He has authored multiple professional articles and presented at regional, national and international conferences on emergency medicine and EMS topics.