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Are nursing staff afraid to report doctor negligence?

In a recent post we talked about the complexity of evidence in medical malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately, experts are often required to translate such medical jargon into layperson’s terms. The opposing party will likely offer their own expert witness in an attempt to offer an alternative explanation for the patient’s injury. Small wonder, then, that juries might get confused. Hopefully, this “battle of the experts” can be minimized with the strategic help of an attorney who is able to present evidence that is both persuasive and transparent to jurors. 

Today’s post explores another source of evidence that might be easily overlooked: the nursing staff who assist doctors with procedures or treatments. According to a recent article, nursing staff may fear retaliation for reporting doctor errors or misconduct. Others may even be subjected to condescending or intimidating behavior from their doctors.

Unfortunately, patient care may suffer as a result of strained communications between doctors and nursing staff. According to one study by an independent health care accrediting organization, unanticipated injuries resulting in death or permanent disability can be linked to communications failures in nearly two-thirds of the cases examined. 

Notably, a 2011 survey also underscored the potential patient safety hazard of hospital staff miscommunications. Around 75 percent of doctors surveyed expressed a concern about poor communication affecting patient care or causing patient injury. Yet when tensions mount during a complicated procedure, it may be hard to avoid communications that are stressful, potentially degrading, and/or that underscore the hierarchical split between doctors and their nursing staff.

Our law firm focuses on medical negligence and can help you investigate the potential causes behind your injury. If you suspect that doctors or staff were negligent, perhaps due to miscommunications, check out our law firm’s website to explore some of your options.  

Source: Slate, “One of the hardest parts of being a nurse is dealing with bullying doctors,” Alexandra Robbins, April 29, 2015

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