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Communication problems can cause medical mistakes

When a Houston resident needs to go to the doctor, emergency room or hospital they likely expect to receive expert medical care that will resolve their medical situation. Most of the time this is the case, but in some unfortunate cases, a medical error like the failure to diagnose a condition or a surgical error occurs. A new study shows that many times these medical mistakes are caused by a failure to communicate.

CRICO Strategies, an evidence-based risk management company, recently released a report showing that communication breakdowns are a problem that can lead to catastrophic results for patients. The researchers looked at over 23,000 medical malpractice cases between 2009 and 2013. Communication problems were present in around 30 percent of the cases. Many of the communication problems occurred in surgery at almost 27 percent, followed by general medicine, nursing and obstetrics. Communication problems were almost evenly split between doctor to doctor and doctor to patient. The researchers had some suggestions for how to improve communication. These include increased empathy, especially prior to surgery.

Although no one expects to be the victim of a medical malpractice case, it happens to thousands of people across the United States each year. These victims have legal rights that can help them recover compensation for their injuries. A legal professional skilled in medical malpractice can help a person get the answers they deserve. They can review medical records, interview witnesses and determine what happened and who is at fault. They can hold the medical provider responsible for their negligence and compensation may be available for current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

A medical provider who has made a mistake that results in a patient's worsened condition should be held responsible. A medical mistake can be serious and lead to serious injury or even death.

Source: Medscape.com, "Failure to communicate is costly and dangerous; more", Wayne J. Guglielmo, Feb. 16, 2016

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