Communication failures lead to serious injuries and even deaths

Most Pittsburgh residents will need to visit the doctor this year. This visit may be just a routine check-up or it may involve diagnosing a medical condition. Hopefully, most Pittsburgh residents will receive an accurate diagnosis and expert medical treatment. But, medical mistakes — like the failure to diagnose a condition — do occur.

Communication errors have become one of the leading reasons for a medical malpractice case. Communication failures have been found to be in up to 30 percent of medical malpractice cases, causing thousands of serious injuries and over 1,700 deaths in the United States from 2009 to 2013. Medical communication failures can occur in a number of different ways. A nurse can fail to communicate important patient information to the doctor, a patient’s wishes may not be followed which result in unexpected consequences, a cancer diagnosis may be missed on an electronic health record because it wasn’t properly flagged, among many other examples that can be found.

When a patient is the victim of the failure to diagnose a condition or any other medical mistake they can face serious injuries, delayed treatment or even death. If a family believes their loved one was a victim of a medical mistake, they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and consult with medical experts get the answers the family deserves. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Communication failures among medical professionals results in thousands of injuries and deaths each year. It is important to hold medical providers accountable for their mistakes.

Source:, “Communication failures linked to 1,744 deaths in five years, US malpractice study finds,” Melissa Bailey, Feb. 1, 2016