Volume 316, No. 11 of The Journal of the American Medical Association featured an article called “Performing the Wrong Procedure.” The article included reasons why these errors occur, and we decided to pass that information on as it is a recurring theme in so many of the malpractice case in which we represent the injured.
1. It is best for clinicians to communicate directly with one another rather than through orders in the medical record or intermediate personnel.
2. Errors attributed to hand-offs may be minimized by standardizing the process and creating a template specifying what information should be passed from one team to another.
3. Clinicians should review the informed consent form and clearly explain procedures or treatments to patients.
4. Time-outs can minimize the risk of errors, but only if treated seriously by the personnel involved.
You as a patient must be an advocate. You must question the physicians and nurses before every procedure is done, including questions about why it is done. Don’t accept glib answers.
If you cannot get the information you need, we will help advise you how to get that information to protect your family.