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Clinical Negligence can be avoided with better communication

30.06.2014

Over the years our clinical negligence specialists have noticed that poor communication really sits at the heart of most of the medical and clinical negligence cases they see.

Take this example.

Poor communication between a clinician (GP, nurse, consultant, A&E doctor) and a patient, where a clinician simply doesn’t listen to what a patient is saying, can lead to poor history taking and wrongful or delayed diagnoses.

Poor communication between hospital departments can mean referrals not happening or being too slow, test results not being shared, wrong decisions being made about treatment and diagnoses being made incorrectly.

Patients also need to communicate effectively so that clinicians get the information they need to decide on the best course of action.

This culture of poor communication can result in the often avoidable worsening of conditions such as cancer, vascular problems leading to amputations and the spreading of infection and sepsis. In some cases surgery may be carried out when it shouldn’t, all of which can have devastating consequences for patients.

Even when the negligent treatment is not down to poor communication, our medical malpractice solicitors often see a general culture of poor communication so what can and should be done about it?

It’s a cultural issue that needs addressing. That will take money and training.

Although bringing a claim in medical negligence will not directly lead to an improvement in the way people communicate, a side-effect of bringing a claim is people involved with it will discover how poor communication has contributed to the issue and can then see how improvements can be made to help themselves and other people.

Most of the clients we see come to us because they have faced negligence and don’t want something similar to happen to someone else. Although we can’t guarantee this, we want to make sure lessons are learnt and improvements made for the good of us all.
 

Further information

 
To discuss a clinical negligence claim, call our medical negligence solicitors in Bristol on 0117 325 2929.

Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.

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