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Hospital errors can be caused by inadequate communication

Communication is a fundamental part of every patient's treatment. If doctors and nurses here in Illinois or elsewhere fail to work together and adequately communicate, it could put a patient's life at risk. When hospital errors occur, it might be beneficial to ascertain whether the appropriate information was passed from doctor to nurse, or vice versa, in a reasonable amount of time.

For example, a nurse could make an observation about a patient that raises questions in his or her mind. However, the nurse might not feel comfortable asking the question, believing that the answer would be obvious or the question meaningless. That hesitation could ultimately end up causing harm to the patient.

The same could be said for doctors giving orders for nurses to follow. Even if a doctor meticulously writes instructions in a patient's chart, a nurse might not see them right away. That might be okay in some cases, but in others, those orders should also be communicated verbally -- especially when time is of the essence. Furthermore, if a nurse is unable to read a doctor's orders or the nurse in unsure that the instructions make sense for the patient, it is imperative to bring it to the doctor's attention -- even if only for clarification.

Without good communication, there is a risk that a patient could suffer injury or death. These types of hospital errors are usually preventable. If it can be shown that a lack of appropriate communication caused or contributed to the injury or death of a patient, an Illinois court could consider an award of damages for medical malpractice.

Source:, "Poor Communication Among Hospital Staff Resulting in Medical Malpractice?" , Sept. 22, 2016

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