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Proper Communication Avoids Medical Complications

DoctorsProper communication skills are vital to any successful relationship. Without the necessary conversations, however, these bonds break, falter, and fail. The same concept holds true in medical relationships, except the stakes are much higher.

Doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals hold the lives of their patients in their hands. If communication fails anywhere in the health care industry, the result can be a matter of life or death.

The big Problem

Patients may fail to include a detailed medical history when completing the exhaustive new patient paperwork. Doctors and nurses may discharge patients without ensuring a thorough understanding of the prescribed treatment plan. Although these issues are concerning, the conversation between provider and patient comprises only a small portion of the problem.

According to CRICO, or Controlled Risk Insurance Company, errors frequently occur between the various medical professionals treating the same patient. CRICO analyzed 23,000 medical malpractice incidents and discovered more than 7,000 occurred due to miscommunication of facts, figures, and findings between the professionals. These errors cost our nation’s health care system $1.7 billion annually. The report goes on to explain that miscommunication occurs because information is:

  • Unrecorded;
  • Misdirected;
  • Never received;
  • Never retrieved; or
  • Ignored.
Causes of Miscommunication in the Health Care System

Miscommunication occurs for a variety of reasons. Often, between patients and health care providers, there is an assumption that the person receiving the information knows and understands more than he or she does. This error in judgment also occurs between medal professionals, which CRICO attributes to familiarity between co-workers.

Human nature insists that we go into further detail when passing on pertinent information to someone with whom we are unfamiliar because we do not have a high level of trust yet. Once we have established trust, however, we begin to rely on the individual's capabilities and detailed communication falters.

Other factors negatively impacting conversations within the health care system include:

  • Workload stress;
  • Electronic Health Record (EHR) errors;
  • Workplace culture; and
  • Distractions.
Provider Duties

These fatal miscommunication errors are preventable by using the proper techniques. If a doctor or health care provider fails to follow proven methods, he or she puts the lives of his or her patients in danger.

If you suffer injuries after trusting a medical person with your care, then miscommunication may be the culprit. At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we understand the devastation medical miscommunication causes. Our attorneys can analyze your case and work to uncover the cause of your suffering. You may be owed financial compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Contact a San Jose, CA medical malpractice attorney by calling (408) 289-1417 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case today.

Client Reviews
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.