Some patients who may be labeled as “problematic” or “difficult” may actually have the right idea. Doctors and healthcare providers are trusted with the care and safety of our most prized possessions (our selves and our families). Why should we not question them to make sure they fully understand the nature of a problem and have the expertise that is required to fix it? Unfortunately for too many individuals, they do not begin to question the care that they are receiving until it is too late, and for many who have been victims of medical malpractice, their questions are then met by stonewalling, denial and blame shifting from hospitals, doctors and insurance lawyers. It is important for any patient to remember that those who they trust with the administration of their medical care are still human, which means that they are able to make mistakes and are highly susceptible to miscommunication. The problem is that their mistakes often come with the highest consequences.
Ego and Communication
Not all doctors are poor communicators, but one study has found that miscommunication is a leading cause of “serious medical errors.” The study looked at errors made during “resident handoffs” of patients, which occur whenever a shift change or facility transfer occurs during the care of a patient. According to the study’s findings, this period of transfer was responsible for a large increase in errors, largely due to miscommunication between the initial staff and the new staff with regard to a patient’s treatment and needs. The entity that conducted the study also implemented something they called an “intervention” which interjected some new techniques for hospital staff to use in order to help them successfully transfer a patient with fewer handoff errors. The techniques included the use of a mnemonic device to assist in oral handoffs, communication training and continued observation to ensure the patient handoffs were done with a lower error rate. The study found that better communication at this stage of treatment led to better care for patients and fewer instances of patient harm due to errors in treatment.
In Illinois, a patient or loved one of someone who has been injured by a healthcare provider’s negligence generally has two years to file a lawsuit after they knew (or should have known) of the injury. Unfortunately for many injured patients, they are unaware of this time limit until it is too late. They can be sure that the wrongdoers are fully aware of this time limit and have ways of delaying discovery of wrongdoing while a patient is too focused on the healing process to take legal action. While of course all healthcare providers are not actively seeking to harm their patients, once malpractice occurs the decisions are largely taken away from the doctors, nurses and other staff and begin to be made by lawyers who are seeking to protect their clients’ interests.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a medical professional you trusted with your care, call Robert T. Edens, P.C today for a consultation. We work hard on behalf of our clients to ensure their interests are protected while they are focusing on more important matters, such as making a full recovery despite the medical error. Our attorneys have experience with all the tactics of large insurance companies and their lawyers, and can use our skills to hold their clients accountable for their negligence.