In a relationship between medical personnel and patient, communication is key to patient success. In the medical field, communication failures, including failure to act on or report test results, have significant and sometimes lifelong consequences. And these errors are a causative factor in up to 80 percent of medical malpractice cases, according to Temple University.
Defining Failure to Communicate and Act
Test results are integral to a successful diagnosis and treatment plan. Additionally, some test results are time sensitive and must be met with swift action. However, when medical personnel fail to communicate those results to patients or fail to act on them, problems can arise for the patient. In these instances, the adage “no news is good news” does not apply. Common reasons behind communication failures include:
- The doctor forgets to speak with the patient, either about abnormal or normal results
- Test results are confused after filtering through many departments in a hospital
- Test results are lost because of poor hospital or lab organizational strategies
Failure to Act or Communicate Has Consequences
Patients can become more involved with the communication process by keeping records of tests and their purposes, as well as following up with doctors about their results. The following are examples of what can happen without proper communication and action:
- Delayed treatment
- Delayed diagnosis
- Worsening of a condition
- Need for further testing
When Failure to Act or Communicate Leads to Medical Malpractice
When a medical professional fails to keep his patient in the loop, especially about abnormal test results, he puts the patient in danger. If a patient is injured or incurs more medical bills due to a doctor’s mistake, she may be able to seek compensation. An experienced attorney can help you prove medical malpractice by showing:
- The medical professional made a mistake or was negligent in reporting or acting on test results.
- The patient was harmed, physically or economically.
- The physician’s mistake was a direct cause of the harm done to the patient.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured By A Medical Practitioner?
If you feel you've been subjected to medical malpractice you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help medical malpractice victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.