Errors and adverse events

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1. Errors and adverse events

Published 20 April 2022 | Updated 23 January 2023

While not all adverse events are caused by human error it is helpful to start by looking at the literature relating to mistakes and adverse events and the effects that they can have.

  • Low, R and Wu, A.W. (2022) Veterinary healthcare needs to talk more about error: For the wellbeing of our patients and medical teams. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 36 (6), pp. 2199-2202.
  • Schortz, L. et al (2022) Type and impact of clinical incidents identified by a voluntary reporting system covering 130 small animal practices in mainland Europe. Veterinary Record, p. e1629.
  • Alexander-Leeder, C.A. et al (2022) Medical errors: experiences, attitudes and perspectives of incoming and outgoing final-year veterinary students in the USA. Veterinary Record, p. e1735.
  • Mellanby, R.J. and Herrtage, M.E. (2004) Survey of mistakes made by recent veterinary graduates. Veterinary Record, 155 (24), pp. 761-765.
  • Oxtoby, C. et al (2015) We need to talk about error: causes and types of error in veterinary practice. Veterinary Record, 177 (17), pp. 438-438.
  • Wallis, J. et al (2019) Medical errors cause harm in veterinary hospitals. Frontiers in Veterinary Science6, p. 12.
  • Russell, E. et al (2021) Uncovering the ‘messy details’ of veterinary communication: An analysis of communication problems in cases of alleged professional negligence. Veterinary Record, 190 (3) p. e1068.
  • Gibson, J. et al. (2022) ‘We’re gonna end up scared to do anything’: A qualitative exploration of how client complaints are experienced by UK veterinary practitioners. Veterinary Record, p. e1737.
  • Kogan, L.R. et al ( 2018) Veterinarians’ experiences with near misses and adverse events. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 252 (5), pp. 586-595.
  • White, S.C. (2018) Veterinarians’ emotional reactions and coping strategies for adverse events in spay-neuter surgical practice. Anthrozoös, 31 (1), pp. 117-131.
  • Turner, M. (2016) Mistakes, errors and foul-ups: Practice-based evidence for evidence based practice [podcast]. Veterinary Evidence, 1 (4).
  • Blackie, K. (2022) Learning from patient safety event reporting in veterinary practice. Veterinary Record, 191 (2), pp. 71-73.
  • Boissevain, I.E. et al. (2022) 15 years of facts and figures on veterinary disciplinary measures in the Netherlands. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9.

For an example of how to deal with an error in practice you may be interested in

Silver Mac-Mahon, H. (2021) When it all goes wrong: the importance of debrief [RCVS Knowledge. QI Features] [online]. Available from: [accessed 14 April 2022]

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