Communication Errors Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice

Communication Errors Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice

A new study has found that miscommunication is one of the leading sources of medical malpractice. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a little more than 7% of all doctors face medical malpractice claims each year, with physicians in higher risk specialties such as obstetrics and surgery facing higher incidents of malpractice claims – will over 10%.

Physicians may be liable for medical malpractice where they fail to act according to the requisite standard of care and as a result, a patient is harmed. Where a doctor or other health care provider is found to be negligent, they may be required to pay damages.

The study found that often medical malpractice lawsuits begin with a general lack of communication. For example one case involved a patient going to the Emergency room complaining of chest pain. While the doctor ordered all the correct tests in a timely fashion – the tests weren't performed, and the doctor failed to follow-up. While the doctor was well intentioned, the two failures in communication led to the patient's death. One possible solution to improving communication is to spend more time and to use electronic software to help keep track of patients needs. However, it's important not to allow automation and electronic monitoring to lull doctors and other health care providers into a false sense of security.

However, the first step to eliminating communication errors is to identify the areas that need improvement and take the appropriate steps to improve patient safety.

For more information or if you believe that you or a loved one has been injured as the result of medical malpractice, please contact the dedicated San Diego personal injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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