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Miscommunication Between Providers is a Common Cause of Malpractice Injuries

Malpractice InjuryWhen people are seriously ill or injured, they typically spend time in the hospital. During that stay, they might see several doctors. Nurses also change shifts two or three times a day. These changes are supposed to be smooth and effortless. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In fact, one of the most common causes of medical malpractice is miscommunication between providers. Learn more about the risk, how to protect yourself, and what you can do if you or someone you love has suffered illness, death, or injury because of a medical error.

Understanding the Risk

CRICO Strategies, an analysis and research division of the company that insures Harvard-affiliated hospitals, examined over 23,000 medical malpractice claims from hospitals around the country. Over half of those cases reflected a miscommunication between two or more providers (57 percent). In at least 7,100 of the cases, critical or pertinent facts, figures, or findings were either lost or not conveyed to the provider that needed them. More than 1,700 of the cases ended in death to the patient and $1.7 billion in malpractice payouts were made.

Protecting Yourself from Malpractice

Clinical information about a patient – lab results, diagnoses, conditions, vitals, and more – are supposed to be documented and contained within the medical records. Sometimes this information is not documented. Other times, when a handoff happens, the message is sent to the wrong doctor (or no one at all). Then there are situations in which doctors or nurses simply failed to notice crucial information within the patient’s records.

Patients might feel powerless in the face of such issues, but there are ways to reduce the risk of malpractice. For example, patients and their families can ask questions about the medications and treatment plans that each doctor is implementing. Ask how they arrived at their conclusion. Know the risks of each medication or treatment, and ask if there are less risky or more effective alternatives. When they order tests, ask who the results will be forwarded to, and when. Be an educated patient and proactive in your treatment.

If Injury, Death, or Illness Occurs

Although patients can and should empower themselves, there is no way to truly eliminate the risk of malpractice. As such, patients should know when, where, and how to seek compensation. The first step is to contact Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP. Dedicated and experienced, our San Jose medical malpractice attorneys can analyze your case and help you in deciding what the next step should be. In every situation, we seek the most favorable outcome. Schedule your free consultation by calling (408) 289-1417.

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My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.