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Studies Find Surgical Errors Often Occur from Lack of Communication

For many people, the idea of surgery is already stressful enough before they learn about how common mistakes in surgery really are. Medical errors stemming from miscommunication can be a terrifying thought for patients. Sometimes referred to as wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors, these communication breakdowns can lead to patients getting incorrect treatment, or getting treatment in the wrong area – a mistake that could be fatal.

Unfortunately, these kinds of errors are far more common than health care providers or patients want them to be. While many health care facilities may have procedures in place to prevent these kinds of surgical errors, the issues themselves are often rooted in miscommunication and may require additional investigation to properly prevent.

What are WSPE’s?

Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors, also abbreviated as WSPE, are errors that occur in treatment or surgery where a patient receives incorrect care. This can be anything from a patient receiving medication meant for someone else to a patient undergoing serious surgery intended for another person. While the spectrum of miscommunication medical errors is vast, many are worried that current policies are not enough to prevent them from happening.

Some of the most common WSPE prevention techniques involve marking the parts of a patient that are undergoing a procedure, implementing a color coding system, and patient-specific checklists. A patient’s medication might be given a certain color or pattern, or a patient’s name might be printed on every side of a prescription. Patients could also have their body marked with marker to prevent confusion during surgery, such as marking the correct leg undergoing knee surgery. Despite these precautions, providers can still get confused, leaving hospitals and healthcare facilities to pursue new tactics to prevent WSPEs.

How to Prevent This Kind of Medical Malpractice

Some studies have found thousands of patient deaths, and billions in malpractice costs, could have been circumvented if the medical staff and the patient prioritized clearer communication. The errors in communication occur across all healthcare encounters, from interactions between patient and provider to interactions between two or more providers. Mismanagement of crucial information and instructions, as well as encounters with caregivers, are also cited as being areas where healthcare information can be miscommunicated.

Unfortunately, the only thing a patient can do to protect themselves is to be open and honest with their healthcare providers and caretakers about their medical situation. A patient has little control over the actions and methods of their healthcare providers, which is why communication between the members of a person’s medical team is so crucial. The best that a patient can do is ask questions, ensure the proper documents and information is given to their team, and double-check the care they receive before it becomes too late.

Pursue Medical Malpractice Compensation Today

Miscommunication among medical staff, regardless of how small, can be the difference between the proper care and serious injury, or worse. Even though it seems obvious, ensuring that the right information is conveyed to the right people at the right time is, unfortunately, not often taken as seriously as it should be by medical providers.

If you or someone you love has experienced a form of medical malpractice, it could have been due to miscommunication at some point in your care. At the Connecticut Trial Firm, we believe that a person should be able to put their trust and faith in their medical team. When this trust is broken, and a person is left injured due to medical malpractice, our attorneys could be there to help you pursue the justice you deserve.

Contact our firm today if you would like to begin your medical malpractice case with our team of dedicated legal advocates, or if you would like to talk to our lawyers about specific questions to your unique case. We understand the complexities and nuances that come with medical error cases and we could utilize our vast experience to support your claim.