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Lack of communication by hospital staff hurts patients

Patients in Arizona hospitals are at a serious risk of injury when nurses and doctors have poor communication skills. Each year, 200,000 people are killed as a result of medical errors. Many people believe that these errors would be less likely to occur if hospital staff members were more willing to point out their colleagues' mistakes.

A report called Silence Kills that was published by VitalSmarts and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in 2005 found that lack of communication was a dangerous problem in medicine. After surveying 1,700 physicians, nurses, administrators and clinical care staff, researchers found that 50 percent of the people who were surveyed had watched their colleagues make mistakes, show poor teamwork and demonstrate incompetence on the job. However, only 10 percent of the people surveyed said that they had addressed their concerns with their colleagues.

Nearly 90 percent of the doctors who were surveyed in the study reported that they had co-workers who they believed had poor clinical judgment. Further, 84 percent of the doctors said that they had actually watched co-workers take risky shortcuts during the care of patients. A follow-up study that was completed in 2010 concluded that the risks associated with conversation failures in hospitals could not be remedied with safety tools alone.

Patients who are injured in hospitals are often unaware of what went wrong during their care until a thorough investigation is completed by a third party. An attorney may be able to help an injured patient to conduct an investigation into their hospital care and file a medical negligence claim if it is appropriate.

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