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Experts Agree Better Communication Key to Improving Medical Malpractice Rates

Illinois may be a state away, but doctors in Detroit would be wise to heed the advice of professionals in the state, regardless. The reasons behind medical malpractice lawsuits are generally not something lawyers spend a lot of time worrying about, but they do play a crucial role in determining how doctors can avoid such mistakes in the future. That’s why one Illinois doctor takes the possibility of such matters extremely serious.

According to McHenry County’s Northwest Herald, Dr. Naleem Gandhi has been involved in three medical malpractice lawsuits throughout the course of her career as an obstetrician and gynecologist, and each one has left her with the same feeling of despair and helplessness. Even when she knows she did nothing wrong, she’s still left questioning what more she could have done.

“You like to think there’s a line between the person and the professional,” Gandhi said. “Most people become physicians because they want to help people, and obviously if something goes wrong, you feel like it’s a personal attack.”

Medical malpractice can be especially harmful in Gandhi’s field. On average, around 28,000 babies per year are born with a birth injury, or as many as three every hour, and these incidents often stem from malpractice or negligence.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice does happen more frequently then it probably should in a nation with such advancements. As the story points out, each year about 7% of physicians will have a malpractice claims against them. One of the biggest reasons comes down to basic miscommunication.

Tom Popovich is a McHenry-based attorney who hears from between 100 and 200 claims a year, but only takes one or two of them. In one of his client’s cases, a spouse was brought to the emergency room for chest pains.

The doctor in charge ordered the correct procedures to be done immediately, but for whatever reason, the orders weren’t carried out by the staff. The patient ended up dead. A tragedy, yes, but certainly not uncommon considering medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“It’s very hard for family members to understand that their loved one died just because of a simple miscommunication error,” Popovich said.

Another home healthcare specialist who works in the area, Dr. Kenneth Albrecht, echoed similar sentiments and credits his personal policies as a big reason he’s never been sued for malpractice.

“What I noticed [during my residency] was patients were disgusted, felt lost and treated like a number in the system, and I definitely knew that I did not want that,” Albrecht said. “I wondered ‘Why is that? Why is that?’ Medicine is so damn disorganized that it’s difficult for physicians to sort of control anything. What I knew patients really needed and what they wanted was quality time with me, not just time but quality time.”

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