Thousands of people are dying in medical centers due to errors in communication. The costs have reached into the billions. To make matters even worse, all of that happened in just five years.

Those are the results of a medical malpractice study that dug into the reasons for the errors and the ramifications. It claims that, during the five years the study examined, 1,744 people passed away after these critical communication errors. These mistakes showed up in a full 30 percent of the incidents studied.

No Communication

Many of the mistakes were simple: No communication happened at all, when it was desperately needed. For instance, one patient had surgery and then saw a decline in red blood cells and felt serious abdominal pain. Both of those signs could have meant the post-operation patient was bleeding internally. A nurse knew what happened but never mentioned it to the surgeon, and the patient died.

Another case involved a patient with diabetes. That patient called the office staff at the medical center when problems began to surface. The staff was supposed to tell that person's primary care provider, but no one did so. As a result, no one called the person back. Eventually, that patient went into diabetic ketoacidosis -- the person's body ran too low on insulin -- and the individual collapsed and died.

Non-Fatal Cases

Not all cases were fatal, though they were serious. For instance, a woman having a C-section asked if doctors could tie her tubes so she wouldn't have any more children. No one bothered to tell the obstetrician who was on the clock, though, and it never happened. The woman mistakenly believed it had and was shocked when she became pregnant.

Seeking Compensation

As the statistics and examples show, communication errors in hospitals can have serious ramifications. Those who are harmed need to know their rights.

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