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Handoff communication errors contribute to patient injuries

When you’re planning on going into surgery, shouldn’t you be able to trust that your doctors and medical staff have it all together and won’t make any mistakes that will be detrimental to your health? You and other Providence residents have the right to expect professional care in the hospital, from the initial check-in procedures all the way through to your discharge. Unfortunately, many hospital patients across the country are harmed every year due to preventable mistakes during routine surgery and other procedures. At DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Ltd., we are prepared to help clients find justice and closure after serious surgical mistakes.

One of the most common types of hospital mistake is miscommunication among doctors and support staff, according to KQED News. Communication errors among medical professionals may occur after surgery and during daily “handoff” procedures.

What is a handoff procedure, exactly? This practice occurs each time you, as the patient, are transferred to the care of another doctor, nurse or medical professional. Handoffs occur each time medical staff changes shifts, and also if you change to a different ward in the hospital or switch medical facilities. In an ideal situation, the correct medical information regarding your condition would be relayed to the next people handling your care.

However, it is common for this type of information to be incorrectly communicated or left out during handoffs. The omission of critical information could lead to a serious injury or worsened medical condition. A study from the University of California San Francisco and numerous other institutions suggested that improved doctor communication during handoffs can reduce the chance of injuring patients by 30 percent. There is currently no national standard regarding handoffs to improve communication between medical staff.

The Institute of Medicine states that up to 440,000 patients every year experience some type of medical mistake that results in their death. To learn more about surgical errors and other types of hospital errors that may threaten your health, please visit our page.

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Providence Personal Injury Office

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Providence, RI 02903

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