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How serious is miscommunication among hospital staff?

Like other Massachusetts residents, you expect to be treated with the utmost in care and professionalism when you undergo a medical procedure or spend time in the hospital. However, preventable medical mistakes lead to thousands of serious injuries and deaths each year across the country. According to KQED News, between 210,000 and 440,000 patients in the United States suffer from adverse medical events, including death, due to doctor mistakes.

One type of doctor error that is alarmingly common is miscommunication among hospital staff. Communication errors happen frequently during handoff procedures, which would occur when your hospital staff changes shifts, when you change locations in your hospital or when you change medical centers. To illustrate just one of the communication errors that may occur, your nurse may have neglected to record the last medication she administered to you before clocking out, possibly leading to a medication overdose when the next nurse comes on shift. It is crucial that the medical staff properly communicates all aspects of your condition to the next professionals to handle your care.

Miscommunication errors may lead to as many as 1,000 patient deaths each day. Even with these disturbing figures, there is no national standard for handoff communications or holding hospitals accountable for communication mistakes. A study among numerous institutions revealed that improving communication among doctors and medical staff can lessen the risk of patient injuries by 30 percent.

Hospital mistakes caused by miscommunication may lead to increased medical expenses, as well as other serious complications. It is important to note that this post is meant to give you general information on the severity of hospital mistakes, but should not be taken as legal advice.

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