Medical Malpractice – the Failure to Communicate
Simply put, medical malpractice is negligence by a doctor or nurse which causes injury. So too, medical malpractice can be injury caused by the negligence of any health professional. Even hospital negligence is medical malpractice if employee carelessness or system inadequacy causes an injury.
Negligence/malpractice by a physician, nurse, other health professional or hospital needn’t have been a complex failure. Simple communication errors often lead to a failure to diagnose, thereby causing negligence/malpractice. Likewise, careless communication often leads to failure to attend to a patient, thus negligence/malpractice. Also, the failure in referral or consultation is negligence/malpractice often flowing from ensuring communication is effective.
Doctor negligence/malpractice, nurse negligence/malpractice or even hospital negligence/malpractice are so frequently the result of one not communicating effectively with the other that it is truly the Achilles heel of medical practice.
Communication breakdown is especially dangerous when it occurs in the context of obstetrics. Modern medicine approaches childbirth from a team perspective and negligent communication among team members can lead to catastrophic birth trauma and permanent birth injuries such as brain damage. A brain damaged baby is a brain damaged child. A brain damaged child carries motor deficits and cognitive impairments throughout life. Ineffective communication, not technical competence, frequently causes childbirth medical negligence/malpractice.
(Posted February 2, 2015)