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How poor manners can lead to a fatal surgical error

When a surgical procedure is necessary in Illinois, the patient will have natural concerns about it regardless of how routine it is. If it is a more serious procedure, those fears will be exacerbated. Common worries include medication mistakes, operating on the wrong part of the body and other egregious errors that have been known to happen. Research, however, is looking into another phenomenon that apparently can cause mistakes: rudeness in the operating theater.

It is not unusual for doctors who are in the midst of performing surgery to snap at a nurse or assistant who is not moving quickly enough or drops an instrument. Ordinarily, a doctor might not think this can cause a problem, but a study has indicated that performance can be negatively influenced by more than half due to this. The author of the study stated that people who were rude can harm the object of the rudeness and his or her ability to think clearly, process information and be decisive. Patients can be injured by this.

In the experiments that were conducted, the authors provided a scenario in which a premature baby is having a medical issue. Prerecorded messages were used to function either as negative feedback or simple statements that the exercise was designed to help the staff improve at their jobs. The negative feedback delivered rudely led to problems in cooperation, communication and the effectiveness of the staff at doing their jobs. Illnesses were misdiagnosed, instructions were forgotten, wrong medications were given and other mistakes were made. The authors of the study believe that rudeness might contribute to preventable surgical error and other mistakes that lead to deaths of patients. As it is, one study indicates that as many as 440,000 people die because of medical errors annually.

Those who have lost a loved one during surgery need to have a full investigation of a potential surgical error regardless of what sparked it whether it was incompetence, rudeness or a simple act of not paying attention. Speaking to a legal professional can help with investigating a fatal surgical error and in pursuing compensation.

Source: New York Magazine, “Rudeness in Medical Settings Could Kill Patients,” Travis McKnight, Oct. 26, 2015


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