HABERKORN & Associates

What is the role of communication in medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice comes about because of negligence on the part of a caregiver. It can happen due to many things, from medication errors to failing to diagnose a condition. At the heart of many negligence situations in California is communication errors. Communication plays a pivotal role in a healthcare setting. When mistakes are made, you can get hurt.

According to the Institute for Healthcare Communication, when there is a breakdown in communication in a healthcare setting, it can make you, as the patient, feel uncomfortable or unsure about your care and can lead to medical negligence. In many cases, it also will affect how well you continue your care once you leave the medical facility. If you are given confusing or unclear directions, you may not understand how much medication to take or how often to take it. You could forget to make follow up appointments or fail to get testing done. Any of these things could lead to your medical condition worsening.

In addition, bad communication between patients and staff can lead to less satisfaction with care and less trust in caregivers. If you do not feel comfortable with your caregiver because he or she does not fully explain things to you, then you may not completely trust in his or her abilities. You may find yourself hesitant to seek out medical care when you need it because of this.

One of the major issues is miscommunication can lead to diagnostic errors. Your caregiver may not listen to you and this could lead to missing important symptoms or other things you tell him or her. Interruptions are a huge problem with communication in healthcare settings. When interrupted, a caregiver may lose his or her train of thought, which could lead to questions not being asked or procedures being skipped.

Everyone is left vulnerable when communication breakdowns occur in healthcare settings. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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