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Surgical errors are just part of the story in medical malpractice

The medical malpractice cases that receive the most news coverage tend to be the most dramatic, typically ones involving surgical error. These cases can be horrifying and tragic, but sometimes the focus on these dramatic stories overshadows the public's awareness of other types of medical malpractice, such as those involving faulty or delayed diagnosis, or bad prescriptions.

Many human errors that lead to patient injury happen outside the operating room. Some of these errors are committed by doctors, others by nurses and other personnel at hospitals and other health care facilities.

In fact, perhaps the single most dangerous factor in medical facilities is a lack of communication. According to some sources, two-thirds of all medical error deaths are the result of miscommunication during a transition -- for instance, when hospital workers move a patient from one ward to another. If personnel from different departments fail to communicate properly with each other, it can be easy for one group of workers to be misinformed about the patient's condition. This can lead to them giving the patient the wrong dosage of medicine or making other errors that can have disastrous consequences for the patient.

After one of these dramatic instances of surgical error that makes it into news broadcasts and viral news articles, it can be relatively easy to show medical malpractice. For example, if a surgeon removed the wrong kidney from a patient, it's relatively straightforward to show that the doctor breached his or her professional duty of care. By contrast, it can be difficult to gather evidence of non-surgical errors for a medical malpractice case. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can examine notes and reports, interview expert witnesses and gather other information to show that medical negligence led to the client's injuries.

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