For Over 30 Years

Aggressive Personal Injury
Legal Representation

blog home Medical Malpractice Miscommunication: the Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice?

Miscommunication: the Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice?

By Grant Law Office on April 17, 2019

Research and analysis conducted by CRICO Strategies, which insures all Harvard medical institutions and their affiliates, has shown that miscommunication is a leading cause of medical malpractice claims.

This includes not only miscommunication between medical professionals, but between patients and medical staff. CRICO Strategies looked at 23,000 medical malpractice lawsuits filed between 2009 and 2013 and found that communication failures were a contributing factor in 7,149 of those cases, amounting to 30% of the total. That percentage was responsible for 1,744 deaths, $1.7 billion in hospital costs, and 37% of high-severity injury claims.

The actual numbers are likely much higher, because many patients are not aware that communication failures were the cause of their injuries, so they do not take legal action. If you suspect negligence was at play in your hospital experience, calling an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney to investigate is your best option.

How Does Communication Break Down?

There are a number of ways miscommunication between medical professionals can occur. In many cases, one physician will pass a patient on to a specialist, such as a primary care doctor passing a patient on to a cardiologist. If the primary care doctor does not provide the specialist with accurate and sufficient records and diagnoses, the cardiologist may not perform the correct treatment.

In other cases, a nurse or other hospital staff member may not pass vital information about a patient on to the doctor, such as the patient experiencing discomfort around an incision, or elevated blood pressure. Nurses generally care for a number of patients at a time, and work in shifts. It is easy for a nurse to get patients confused, or to forget to pass on important information to nurses taking over on the following shift. It’s also possible for a patient’s medical records, charts, or lab work to become misplaced or filed incorrectly.

Medical communication failures can also occur between a doctor and a pharmacist, resulting in a patient receiving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. A pharmacist may also mislabel a medication or give improper instructions for taking the medication. Lack of communication between two or more physicians treating the same patient may result in prescribing drugs that may have adverse interactions.

As you can see, there is no shortage of ways medical miscommunication can harm a patient.

True Cases of Medical Miscommunication

The following are all examples of medical miscommunication CRICO Strategies discovered during its research:

  • A woman requested that her tubes be tied after an upcoming C-section delivery. However, her request was not communicated to the obstetrician on duty. The woman filed a malpractice claim when she became pregnant again.
  • The staff at a medical office received calls from a patient with diabetes. But, the staff did not relay the patient’s messages to his primary physician. The patient later collapsed and died from diabetic ketoacidosis, which is caused by lack of insulin in the body.
  • A nurse failed to inform a surgeon that a patient was experiencing abdominal pain and a drop in red blood cell levels following an operation—warning signs of possible internal bleeding. The patient later died from a hemorrhage.

If medical miscommunication has cause you injury or the loss of a loved one, you need to contact the compassionate and experienced husband and wife legal team at Atlanta’s Grant Law Firm. Dial toll-free (866) 249-5513 or local (404) 995-3955 for a free case evaluation.

Read more:

Communication failures linked to 1,744 deaths in five years, US malpractice study finds

Related Articles:

Posted in: Medical Malpractice

Contact us today for a free and comprehensive case evaluation.

We require no legal retainer or upfront fees,
and you pay nothing unless we prevail.

Toll-free number: (866) 249-5513
Phone: (404) 995-3955

Our Results

$12,500,000
Wrongful Death Day Care Case

View More

Firm News

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

Kim Grant participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, walking over 60 miles over three days and raising ...

Habitat for Humanity

Kim and Wayne Grant have worked on two Habitat for Humanity Houses and look forward to working on more ...

Grady Hospital Volunteer Work

Kim Grant has donated volunteer hours in Atlanta, including rocking babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Grady ...

Read more news

Our Blog

Nov
25

Take Time to Focus on Forklift Safety

Christmas lists, Black Friday shopping, and warehouse accidents seem to go together hand in hand. As a mad…

Nov
15

When Surgery Leaves You Injured

Surgery is often the last resort to resolve a medical condition, because going under the knife always carries…

Oct
13

What Is Brain Herniation, and When Is It Medical Malpractice?

Water is necessary for life, but “water on the brain” can be a death sentence for a human.…

Read more news

Grant Law Office Disclaimer: The legal information offered herein by Grant Law Office, is not formal legal advice, nor is it the formation of an attorney client relationship. In order for our firm to be considered your attorney there must be a signed agreement between the client and the firm. Any results set forth herein are based solely upon the circumstances of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee on the outcome of any other case. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation.

© 2019 Grant Law Office - All rights reserved.

Photos by Carroll Morgan - Buckhead On-Site Photography | Website Design and Legal Internet Marketing by: SLS Consulting Scholarship
*Wayne Grant has been practicing law since 1979. Grant Law Office was founded in 2000.