Did you know that communication breakdown between doctors, nurses and other care team members is one of the leading causes of unexpected death or serious personal injury? Communication errors, misinformation, or blatant lack of communication all contribute to medical errors, which could be treatment- or diagnosis-based.
Every instance of care requires timely, accurate communication between various members of a patient’s care team. However, communication breakdowns among care team members are ubiquitous. In today’s fragmented healthcare delivery system, care team members are scattered across facilities using different technologies. Not only that, there are cultural, hierarchical and resource barriers that impede communication between caregivers. All of these obstructions result in unsafe, uncoordinated patient care, which can lead to severe, and sometimes catastrophic, harm.
What Types Of Communication Breakdowns Cause Patient Harm?
Communication failure was directly linked to 30 percent of the medical malpractice cases reviewed in a recent study by CRICO Strategies. Forty-four percent of those cases resulted in high-severity patient injury; nearly 1,750 resulted in patient death. Over half of the cases reflected some type of communication failure among care team members. Those types of communication breakdowns included:
What Happens When Care Teams Fail To Communicate?
The outcome of failed communication between care team members: dangerous, harmful practices that lead to patient injury and death.
Here are just a few actual illustrations of what can happen when physicians and other care team members are unable or unwilling to properly converse about patient care.
What Can We Learn From Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Communication Breakdown?
Cases like these uncover systemic gaps in care delivery and missed opportunities for the care team to have clarified information to prevent disastrous outcomes. Even more concerning, many of the appalling events found in medical malpractice cases reflect instances when communication almost happened. The effort to transfer information was intended, or even initiated, but not completed.
When providers simply don’t document or ignore information vital to keeping a patient safe, we have a problem. This is their ultimate responsibility: first, do no harm. Unfortunately, we see cases every day where care providers have contributed to death or injury of a patient because they failed to communicate with their team members.
How To Take Legal Action If This Has Happened To Your Family
Do you believe a family member suffered or died because the care team did not communicate with each other as they should have? If so, you should first contact a medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your case.
Ross Feller Casey is among the nation’s leading personal injury law firms and has an unmatched record of victories in all types of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Cases like these can often be difficult to prove because there is lack of documentation, and are often “he said, she said” situations with care providers pointing fingers at each other. You need a legal professional who will gather evidence to determine where and how the care team failed to provide safe care for your family member.
Medical malpractice cases involving failed communication between care team members often result in higher financial compensation than other types of cases. You could be eligible if your family member has been affected. For a free consultation, contact Ross Feller Casey now.
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