We are modernizing the Good Practices Guide. Learn more

Errors and matters of judgment

Even good doctors make mistakes


The words negligent and liable crossed outAn error is an action (plan, decision, choice, and action or inaction) that, given the information available and the patient's clinical condition at the time, was done wrongly or performed incorrectly in those circumstances, and therefore resulted in an adverse event (accident in Québec), or a near miss.

An example of an error would be operating on the wrong patient, which therefore results in an adverse event.

Another example would be drawing up the wrong medication for a patient but catching the error prior to the administration of the drug. This latter error would be considered a "near miss."

"Error" may also be misunderstood to mean the care provided was substandard or negligent in law.

Errors may or may not be negligent.