- Wrong site/wrong procedure/wrong patient surgery
- Internal medicine – family practice, the section on coordination of care.
Many avoidable tragedies occur in the United States health care system when patients and doctors don’t communicate clearly with each other, or when doctors don’t communicate among themselves clearly.
And the issue is not just for doctors – any nurse, laboratory technician or other health care provider can have vital information for a patient that needs to be passed on to someone else – and somehow it doesn’t always happen the way it should.
Often hospitals and doctors defend these sorts of communication errors by saying “we’re only human.” That is precisely the point of why they should not happen – or at least should be caught before harm occurs. Because we all know that humans are prone to mistakes and forgetfulness, a system must be in place to check and double-check so that catastrophe does not occur. All high-risk enterprises – airlines most notably – learned that lesson long ago.
Another kind of communication error is when the doctor doesn’t listen carefully to the patient’s story, or jumps to a conclusion too quckly. This can cause a misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose a serious problem. See our web page on misdiagnosis for more on that.
Patient Safety Tips to Prevent Communication Errors
First, read your own medical records. Especially you should ask for a prompt copy of any recently done test on you. Never assume that “no news is good news.”
Here’s what I wrote in our firm’s patient safety newsletter on why I made “getting and reading your own medical records” Step One in my nine-step system for better medical care. Read More…
Consult with an Experienced Malpractice Attorney
If you believe you or a family member has been seriously injured from medical malpractice, medical error, or neglect by a doctor, hospital, nurse, clinic, nursing home or other health care provider, you may want to click here to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for a free evaluation of your case. You can also email us at email@example.com or call us at 202-742-1500 or 888-625-6635 toll-free. We will respond within 24 hours. There is no charge for our initial consultation.