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Communication Problems At the Heart of Most Malpractice

Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits are laden with emotions on both sides. Obviously patients and their families hurt because of medical mistakes likely have a mix of anger, sadness, fear, and determination when working to hold negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm caused. On the other sides, the medical defendants often feel unfairly attacked by the process. Part of the reason is likely the assumption that being named in one of these suits is akin to being called incompetent in one’s chosen field.

That is not necessarily true.

Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys know that in many cases a mistake is made that has serious repercussions on a medical patient not because of incompetence or lack of ability but merely a one-time slip up. Medical professionals are human just like everyone else and so mistakes will be made. That does not mean that there shouldn’t be accountability for those mistakes-there must be-but it also doesn’t meant that the professional who made the mistake is automatically unfit to work or should take the situation as an attack on the good work that they have likely performed in the past.

Doctors who are not properly trained or skilled in certain areas do exist. They can make repeated mistakes that harm many patients. However, in many cases medical malpractice lawsuits are not caused by those individuals but instead caused by communication errors among professionals who generally have the requisite level of skill to perform their job well. A recent article at the Cypress Times touched on these communication issues as they relate to medical malpractice.

The story reminded readers that while all doctors are human, the mistakes they make have consequences unseen in other professions. Lives are literally on the line when medical errors are made and so it is reasonable for standards in this field to be as high as possible. Even with the years of training and specialized experience, every year hundreds of thousands of patients are killed because of medical negligence. Many others are severely hurt and sometimes permanently disabled as a result of preventative errors.

When they occur the errors are not usually caused by simple stupidity. Instead they are the result of communication breakdowns between various care providers. With more and more specialists involved in the care of a single patient, and outsourcing growing in use, the need for medical professionals to share information accurately and timely has never been greater.

Through the years each Chicago medical malpractice attorney at our firm has worked on cases with communication breakdowns were paramount. For example, if an outsourced center notices and abnormality on a test reading but fails to properly inform a primary care physician, then the patient may not receive the treatment they need.

Communication issues also require patients to be as open and honest as possible. It is important to share specific details about all symptoms and to ask questions when confused to ensure that problems or uncertainties are caught before they can cause actual complications. The civil law can provide a patient redress when harmed by negligence, but in virtually all cases the best bet is to prevent the harm from occurring in the first place.

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