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Many medical errors caused by medical staff miscommunication

Many medical errors caused by medical staff miscommunication

Miscommunication among medical staff may cause many of the preventable medical errors that result in countless deaths or injuries.

When being seen at a doctor’s office or hospital, New York patients and their families should be able to trust the staff caring for them. This extends to the way patient information is handed from one staff member to another. It’s important that everyone on the medical team, from surgeons to nurses and aides, has the most updated information on a patient’s condition and progress in order to avoid medical mistakes.

About 440,000 people throughout the United States die each year from preventable medical errors, according to Forbes. Medical mistakes, the third leading cause of fatalities in the country, include such incidents as surgical instruments left behind in the body, wrong-site surgery, the wrong medication prescription or dosage, and infections from contaminated equipment. Any of these can be the result of a miscommunication between medical staff.

Standardized procedures can prevent errors

The Yale School of Medicine released a report in which an assistant professor studied 88 hospital sign-out sessions over 12 days, hoping to discover a correlation between improper communication and mistakes. She noted the following issues:

  • Nearly two dozen total incidents related to inconsistencies in sign-out procedures
  • Numerous issues resulting from inefficient care
  • Several delayed diagnoses
  • 4 close calls that could have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities

According to the assistant professor, these miscommunication risks can be reduced or avoided if the medical community standardized handoff procedures in the same way that other high-risk industries do, such as nuclear power, trucking and airline industries.

A project from the Center for Transforming Healthcare focused on improving medical staff communication, stated American Medical News. During this project, the participating organizations noticed a drastic reduction in potential surgical errors after they improved their communication efforts.

Lack of communication nearly results in New York patient’s death

According to Kaiser Health News, errors in communication were believed to have been the cause of a failure to diagnose and properly treat a woman at New York Hospital Queens. The woman had been hospitalized for a month and was inexplicably discharged despite continuing to get worse. After being admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center, the woman was found to have a severe bacterial infection and a potentially deadly blood clot in her lung. She also needed to have her colon removed immediately. She reported that there were at least 14 doctors in the first hospital who were not effectively communicating her case with each other.

It may still be a while before all hospitals across the nation develop better communication and treatment procedures. If you or a loved one was injured as a result of a doctor miscommunication, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Keywords: malpractice, surgical, error, negligence

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