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Human error, communication and medical mistakes

In many areas where accidents happen, you'll find that human error plays a big role. Despite calling them "accidents," these events take place for a reason. Most often, it's because someone made a mistake. For instance, human error causes most car accidents, leading to thousands and thousands of deaths every year.

The same is true, reports have pointed out, when you look at medical errors. The top leading cause is human error. A doctor, a nurse or some other medical professional makes an avoidable and regrettable mistake, and a patient suffers harm as a result.

What types of errors are most common? Many times, the issue is just miscommunication. Information does not get exchanged properly, a doctor acts on this poor information, and a patient pays the price.

For instance, maybe a patient's records are not up to date. They're now allergic to a medication that they didn't know they were allergic to previously. In the initial meeting with the nurse, the patient tells them about the allergy.

However, the nurse does not communicate this new information to the doctor, and due to many distractions in a high-stress environment, forgets to update the records. This leads the doctor to give the patient a medication that has extremely negative -- and perhaps fatal -- consequences.

The doctor didn't mean to do anything wrong. Neither did the nurse. But the lack of communication led directly to a serious mistake.

This is just one example, but it helps to show you the risks that you face. If you suffer harm, be sure you know all of the legal rights you have to financial compensation.

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