How Can Poor Communication Lead to Patient Deaths?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on August 11, 2021
Many mistakes can contribute to a medical error. A doctor may fail to read test results correctly, ignore a patient’s medical history, or diagnose symptoms as another condition. In many cases, however, poor communication leads to devastating errors that put patients at risk of severe injury—and sometimes death. If you lost a loved one due to a medical professional’s lack of proper communication, your family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against him or her.
The Danger of Poor Communication in Medical Settings
In an average healthcare setting, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel must communicate vital information in order to adequately identify and treat patient conditions. However, poor communication is rampant in the healthcare industry.
Poor communication can occur between medical providers, or between a provider and his or her patient. This problem can also involve a lack of communication or misinterpretation. Any instance of poor communication can lead to serious mistakes, such as medication errors, misdiagnosis, and unnecessary treatment or surgical procedures. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the poor communication, many of these issues can lead to life-threatening injuries and complications.
For example, say that a nurse fails to write down a patient’s allergy to a certain medication while asking about his or her medical history. When the nurse passes off the patient’s chart to other medical professionals, they will not have access to this information while treating that patient. As a result, a doctor could accidentally administer the wrong medication, leading to a serious and potentially fatal allergic reaction.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Due to Poor Communication
Losing a loved one is an extremely difficult and painful experience. The grief can feel even more overwhelming if a medical professional’s preventable error caused his or her death. If you lost a loved one due to an act of medical negligence, you could file a wrongful lawsuit against the at-fault medical provider. Through this claim, your family can hold the provider accountable for his or her actions and secure compensatory damages to recover from the impact of your loved one’s death.
Missouri has strict laws regarding who can file a wrongful death claim. The first parties are the deceased’s spouse, parents, children, or grandparents. If no person from that category is available, a surviving sibling or his or her children may file the lawsuit. If you are eligible to file this type of claim, you will have three years from the date of your loved one’s death to submit your lawsuit to Missouri civil court.
To successfully file a wrongful death claim against a medical professional, you and your attorney will need to provide enough evidence to prove four key facts.
- The at-fault medical professional owed your loved one a duty of care. All medical providers owe a duty of care to patients they treat in a formal capacity.
- The at-fault medical professional breached the duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
- The breach of duty caused your loved one’s death.
- Your loved one sustained damages that you can recover in the lawsuit.
If you believe your loved one’s death occurred due to poor communication in a medical setting, speak to a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can evaluate your case and help you hold the responsible provider accountable for his or her actions.