Every year, an estimated 250,000 deaths occur due to medical errors—making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine. This includes errors of communication, such as a failure to inform patients of or act on abnormal test results. Since doctors have a duty to notify patients of any information relevant to making medical decisions in a timely manner, failing to take action on abnormal test results can qualify as medical malpractice.
How Errors in Communication Occur
Communicating abnormal test results to a patient in a manner he will understand allows him to make an informed decision about healthcare. This is an important part of providing quality, thorough care. However, medical malpractice by error in communication can occur when doctors, test administrators, or hospitals:
- Fail to notify the patient of the test result
- Relay inaccurate or incorrect information to a patient about her test result
- Take no action on an abnormal test result
- Delay informing the patient
These kinds of errors usually occur because of some breakdown in the chain of communication or documentation. Unfortunately, failing to inform a patient of or take action on an abnormal test result can result in serious injury.
Failing to Inform or Act on Results Can Be Medical Malpractice
A patient who understands his test results can make informed decisions about his healthcare. However, an ill-informed patient or a patient who is entirely unaware of his abnormal test result could:
- Receive unnecessary further testing
- Consent to an inappropriate treatment or procedure
- Consume irrelevant prescription drugs
- Become more ill, in the event a doctor does not act on a time-sensitive illness
In simple terms, these injuries can be classified as medical malpractice if an experienced attorney can prove that an error caused injury and that the patient would have acted differently if given proper information.
Find the Help You Need
If you’ve become more ill or were injured after a doctor failed to act on an abnormal test result or failed to inform you of your test result altogether, you need a trustworthy attorney. The legal team at Tavss Fletcher has helped others like you recover compensation for past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost income. Give us a call at 877.960.3441 to get started on your case today.