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Communication Errors: Major Cause of Medical Malpractice


Communication is vital in providing high-quality patient care in hospitals. Whenever miscommunication occurs, however, so do serious issues, such as patient complications or fatalities.

According to a report by CRICO Strategies, 30% of the medical malpractice lawsuits they reviewed involved claims where patients had suffered injury caused by miscommunication of specific facts, figures, and findings. Also included in the report, communication errors do not occur only because someone doesn’t fully understand the doctor’s or nurse’s orders. Rather, errors happen because information is misdirected, unrecorded, never received, never retrieved or ignored.

Common Communication Issues

Communication problems mainly occur between medical professionals, as well as between medical professionals and patients. In some cases, a combination of both issues result in patient harm.

The following are common provider-to-provider communication issues:

  • Miscommunication about a patient’s conditions
  • Inadequate documentation
  • Failure to review the patient’s medical record

Common provider-to-patient communication problems include:

  • Inadequate education (often regarding information about medications)
  • Inadequate informed consent
  • Incomplete follow-up procedures
  • Miscommunication due to language issues
  • No or wrong information given to patient
  • Unsympathetic response to a patient’s complaint

What Causes These Breakdowns?

Since hospitals are often busy, the pressure of handling a large workload can result in communication errors. Problems with a hospital’s electronic health records system, workplace culture, and even distractions can cause these communication breakdowns.

Furthermore, there are unexpected causes of communication breakdown, such as familiarity. More communication breakdowns happen among people who know each other compared to complete strangers. The reason is because people assume they can use shortcuts in how they express themselves with someone they already know, thinking the other party will understand. Unfortunately, this assumption can have fatal consequences.

How Our Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

At Rash Mueller., we can thoroughly investigate your case and collect enough evidence which determines that communication errors resulted in your injuries. With more than 20 years of experience, we have secured millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Do not hesitate to obtain the experienced legal representation to get the justice you deserve.

Contact us and schedule a free consultation.

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