Many studies and reviews of medical malpractice throughout the United States have found out one thing; errors in communication are a primary cause of medical malpractice. The same is true in New York. Many medical malpractice cases are merely caused by a breakdown of communication. This breakdowns could be between healthcare providers or between a healthcare provider and a patient. Further, these breakdowns can also be oral or written.
For instance, between healthcare providers a prescription from the doctor instructed to a nurse could be misunderstood or misheard, and the nurse may administer the wrong drug in the wrong dose. This could result in very serious complications and even death.
Another example is where the referring physician does not right down the proper arm or leg needed to be operated on. The surgeon could end up performing the surgery on the wrong body part in a wrong site surgery.
Even worse, in a labor and delivery, if the nursing team fails to properly read the fetal monitoring strips and record them for the OB/GYN or family practitioner, the doctor could fail to identity possible birthing complications which could cause severe injuries to the mother and the baby. These are an example of written errors.
Errors can also be between the healthcare provider and the patient. This commonly results in a lack of informed consent. This is a cause of action in a medical malpractice case which can result in compensation for the patient. This is because informed consent is a necessary part of any medical treatment. Patients need to understand what they are undergoing in order to consent.
Additionally, healthcare providers must explain the risks, benefits, and alternatives to any procedure. This is part of the informed consent process and an important point of informed consent lawsuits.
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