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Published on Feb 3, 2011
Many people do not realize that hospitals are dangerous places. Studies have shown that nearly 100,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. In my practice, the most common culprit I see for hospital medical errors will probably surprise you—poor or entirely absent communication.
I have handled a lot of cases where a doctor has given a nurse in order for some urgent lab work or a CT exam or maybe some sort of test—and the unbelievable happens, it doesn't get done.
Normally, it happens in one of a couple of ways. One, the nurse just doesn't follow the order and the test doesn't get done at all. Or number two, it does get done after maybe some delay but it's not communicated back to the doctor. And finally, the doctor might just not follow up and never knows if the test order was done or not.
Well, in cases like that both the nurse and doctor are at fault, but the person who ends up losing is the patient. Think of it like a relay race where you have one runner passing the baton to the next runner, but right before the passing happens the runner drops the baton. What happens in a race is you lose, but a healthcare setting the consequences are even more dire – you can die.
The doctor and the nurse are both responsible, but the person who loses the patient. The delay in treatment that is called by poor communication can be hours or days and can cause serious injury or worse—even death. Remember, the doctors and nurses at the hospital are there to help you and that is their businesses. But they are often so overworked that sometimes your care can fall through the cracks because they're busy taking care of the patients.
You can help make sure you are not a victim of poor communication by making sure that any time you're in the hospital you take someone there with you. Both you and your friend or family member can politely ask questions– ‘Hey I heard about that order, when is it going to be done?’ or ‘When am I going to get taken to the CT room?’ or ‘When are the lab going to be done and what are the results?’ You can do this and make sure that you don't fall through the cracks.
If you been a victim of medical negligence or poor communication in a hospital setting that has caused an injury, please give us a call at Painter Law Firm. Our number is 281-580-8800 or you can reach us on the web at www.painterfirm.com. We will be happy to discuss your case with you.