Denver Medical Miscommunication Lawyers
How Miscommunication Can Become Medical Malpractice
Medical miscommunication cost the U.S. healthcare system approximately $1.7 billion and 2,000 lives between 2009 and 2013, and those are just the recorded numbers. Doctors and staff failing to communicate or failing to ask for information from a patient and family members can be just as dangerous. Researchers found that improving communication between health providers can reduce patient injuries from medical errors by 30%.
If a miscommunication may have caused your injury or worsened your condition, you need a top Denver medical malpractice attorney to investigate and advocate for you. Leventhal & Puga, P.C., has a team of nationally recognized trial lawyers who get results. For a free consultation, please call (303) 759-9945. We accept cases nationwide.
How Medical Miscommunication Happens
While standard medical history and treatment information is recorded on a patient’s chart, a large amount of critical information is also passed from practitioner to practitioner via word of mouth.
A highly risky period occurs when patients are transferred between medical providers. Critical information needs to be passed between doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. When there is a shift change or a patient moves to another hospital, there is a significant opportunity for one of these parties to fail in communicating critical information (The New England Journal of Medicine).
Common breakdowns in communication include:
- failure to communicate about a patient’s condition,
- inadequate informed consent,
- poor documentation, and
- an unsympathetic response to a patient’s complaint.
How Hospitals Can Prevent Medical Miscommunication
Many attorneys and medical professionals agree that the best way to prevent medical miscommunication is to add structure to handoffs and transition conversations. Many doctors learn to communicate with coworkers by doing, and there is no official system for recording these actions or comments.
When you are treated at a hospital, especially when you are transferred to a new team or new facility, doctors and nurses should use checklists and other standardized tools to make sure all pertinent information has been communicated. The medical staff should transfer all of your on-file patient information when you are moved to a new facility, but this is not always standard practice.
Unfortunately, it is often left up to patients to protect themselves. You can do your best to prevent miscommunication with your doctor by giving all the details of your condition and medications you are taking, asking questions about any procedure or treatment, and asking questions like “does my X doctor know that we discussed Y?” But this may not be enough, and the burden is truly on medical providers to ensure they have the correct information.
How Medical Miscommunication Becomes Medical Malpractice
There are a number of ways that failures to communicate can lead to serious medical errors, and thus be eligible for a medical malpractice claim. Examples include:
- A nurse notices signs of internal bleeding in a patient before surgery but fails to inform the surgeon, leaving the patient to bleed out during the procedure.
- A nurse notices a baby’s heart rate decelerating during labor but does not tell anyone about the decelerations because she thinks the baby recovered, leaving the baby in distress, in danger of a birth injury.
- A patient gives a detailed medical history to hospital staff upon admission, including his severe medication allergy. The patient believes this information has been passed along to the next department when he has been admitted, but doctors are not informed of the allergy and the patient is given the medication.
Work with an Experienced Denver Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you suspect medical miscommunication was the cause of your injury during a hospital stay, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible. The top hospital negligence lawyers at Leventhal & Puga, P.C., are experienced at conducting research, getting to the truth, and holding medical professionals accountable for failing to communicate.
No one deserves to be further injured during medical treatment. If you suspect medical malpractice, give our Denver office of Leventhal & Puga, P.C., a call at (303) 759-9945. After your no-cost consultation, if we can assist you, we will do so at no charge until we receive a satisfactory settlement or verdict for you.