May 8, 2012

A new study shows that many medical mistakes may occur because of poor communication between patients and attending hospital staff. According to The Chicago-Tribune, medical mistakes that resulted in patient health complications were more than twice as likely to happen in hospitals that didn’t have translators for non-English speaking patients than those that did.

Researchers examined records from 57 families that visited two pediatric hospitals that participated in the study. All of the families spoke primarily Spanish, but only 20 families received the help of a professional translator. Ten other families had no assistance communicating with hospital staff, while the remainder used a family member or bilingual member of the hospital’s staff. Results showed that 12 percent of communication mistakes when a professional translator was used could have resulted in health risks, versus the 22 percent of risky communication errors that were made when a non-professional translated.

Training also played a part in how many mistakes were made during translation. Researchers found that interpreters with more than 100 hours of training were far less likely to make mistakes than those with less training.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys see all too often the devastating results of mistakes that poor communication between hospital staff led to. That is why the Personal Injury Lawyers with Ferrer Poirot Feller Daniel suggest always asking questions of your doctor and medical staff before receiving treatment or beginning a new regimen of medications.