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Frequently Asked Questions

Communication Failures Can Lead To Medical Malpractice

Surgical and other preventable medical errors continue to occur at an alarming rate. Communication errors are often to blame. In medical malpractice lawsuits, one factor in establishing liability may be determining if a break down in communication has occurred and whether the various health care providers involved in treating a patient failed to meet the appropriate standard of care.

If you have questions about medical malpractice, or believe that you or a loved one have been harmed as the result of medical care you received, it's important to consult with a knowledgeable Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney who can review your matter and determine your next steps.

A recent medical malpractice case reviewed the conduct of a neurologist in treating a patient who subsequently became a quadriplegic. The focus of the trial concerned communication errors and the responsibility of successive doctors in providing the appropriate treatment.

In this instance, the court found that the neurologist was negligent in failing to order a cervical MRI. Although the neurosurgeon who saw the patient after the doctor testified he would not have treated the patient differently had the test been ordered, the court concluded that such testimony was irrelevant to the determination of negligence.

The court explained that each treating physician's conduct must be evaluated separately to determine whether it meets the requisite standard of care and that "a physician cannot "insulate himself" from liability for negligence by relying on such testimony from a subsequent treating doctor. Because the central concern in medical malpractice actions is the reasonably prudent physician standard, the issue of whether a treating physician acted in a reasonably prudent manner must be determined for each individual physician who is a defendant in a medical malpractice action … Further, it is not only the final physician, but rather each treating physician who must act in a reasonably prudent manner."

This case is significant in underscoring the need of each physician to act prudently to ensure his or her patient's safety.

For more information or if you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice, please contact the compassionate and experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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