Poor communication can affect many situations, but in the medical field, it can be downright deadly. Communication is key in medicine, especially between patients and doctors. Good communication can facilitate more effective treatments, healthier patients, and faster care. Poor communication, on the other hand, can lead to injuries and medical malpractice claims. According to CRICO Strategies, communication was a factor in 20% of more than 23,000 medical malpractice cases filed between 2009 and 2013, resulting in $1.7 billion in total losses. Here are 3 ways that poor communication can lead to a medical malpractice claim.
1. Vital Information Isn’t Communicated
When a patient is in the care of medical staff, they trust that vital information about their treatments, surgeries, medication, therapies, diet, and other needs are being passed to the appropriate person. When this communication doesn’t happen or isn’t effective, patients can pay for these mistakes. Some errors can cause mere discomfort or confusion, but communication errors have the potential to cause serious harm to patients. Patients rely on top-notch communication, since their life may hang in the balance.
2. Patients Must Give Informed Consent
Consent is critical in medical care, both for ethical and legal reasons. Patients should fully understand and consent to every aspect of their care, including medications and treatments. A physician needs to know how to effectively communicate with patients from all backgrounds and ensure that they feel they understand what their conditions or injuries are, what treatments and medications will be recommended, and what the expected outcomes of these treatments are. When doctors don’t take the time to go over these things or open a dialogue with their patients about their care, it can lead to patient confusion and medical malpractice claims.
3. Patients Feel They Aren’t Heard
Communication is a two-way street, which means it is critical for doctors to not only ensure their patients understand, but also to ensure they understand their patients. Often, patients can provide information that is critical to their care. Even if they have no critical information, patients who feel listened to and respected often are more satisfied with the outcomes of their treatment. For healthcare providers, satisfied patients are key to preventing medical malpractice cases.
It can be a challenge for busy medical personnel to pass along all the information they need to and ensure it’s done effectively, but the consequences can be deadly if they fail. It is the responsibility of healthcare providers to facilitate effective communication between members of the treatment team and communication with the patient.
If you have suffered an injury due to negligent communication in your medical care, our Kansas City medical malpractice attorneys can help you fight for justice. You deserve compensation for your injuries, and our team at Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. will help you maximize your claim’s success.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with our lawyers. Contact us online, or call (888) 398-2277.