Medical Miscommunication Injury Attorneys in Orlando
Quick, accurate, and thorough communication between medical professionals is essential. When communication breaks down in any way in the operating room, the results can be severe, and it is often the patient who pays the ultimate price.
When it comes to surgical malpractice, a "miscommunication" usually means that vital information was not expressed or understood by someone on the surgical team. Malpractice occurs when a medical professional is negligent, or, put differently, fails to meet the standard of care. Failure to communicate is often a clear example of negligence, as each person involved in surgery has a duty to work together to treat the patient properly.
Surgical miscommunications can happen:
- Prior to surgery: Before surgery, the surgeon should consult with the patient, explain the procedure and risks, and mark the surgery area while the patient is able to confirm it. In addition, the surgeon should double-check the patient’s medical records to make sure that the right procedure is being performed. The surgeon should also talk with his or her team beforehand and let them know what is expected during this procedure.
- During surgery: During the surgery, each member of the surgical team must communicate with the others, and must convey important information, such as the patient’s vital signs and the count of all equipment before and after surgery. The members of the team must also alert the surgeon to any issues that arise. While the surgeon has to focus on what he or she is doing, others in the room must communicate as necessary to protect the patient.
- Following surgery: After the surgery has been completed, important information must still be relayed to the patient and to his or her other care providers. The patient should be told what happened during the surgery and if any issues arose. Other physicians and nurses should be informed about the nature of any after-care or follow-up treatment, including the risk of infection and any medication that the patient may need postoperatively.
Although there are many potential causes of miscommunication in surgery, some of the most common include:
- Team instability: If the surgical team does not work together frequently or does not feel comfortable together, members might find it harder to speak up.
- Lack of policies: Hospitals and other medical facilities should have clear policies about how surgical teams and physicians are expected to communicate. Failure to have such policies can result in an injury to a patient.
- Insufficient resources: When a hospital is understaffed, surgical teams may feel rushed to complete a procedure. This can result in skipped steps and poor overall communication.
- Power relationships: There is still a sense of hierarchy in many medical facilities, which can lead to power imbalances in the relationships between members of the surgical team. For example, if nurses and technicians feel they cannot speak freely to surgeons, this creates the potential for errors.
Communication before, during, and after surgery is essential to providing proper care to patients. Failures or breakdowns in communication can result in errors like wrong-site surgery, equipment left inside a patient, or infections after surgery. There are simple steps that hospitals and other medical facilities can take to ensure proper communication among staff, yet these procedures are sometimes ignored in the name of maximizing profits.
If you believe that you or someone you love has been harmed during a surgical procedure due to poor communication, please speak to our experienced Orlando medical malpractice lawyers at Faiella & Gulden, P.A., at (407) 647-6111. We offer a free consultation to review your case.
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