Study of Medical Malpractice Claims Finds Misdiagnosis is the Most Common Problem

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Sep 21, 2016 in Doctor Errors

doctor with stethoscopeIn a study of 1,180 medical malpractice claims, The Doctors Company found that the most common allegations were for failed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses, accounting for 39 percent of the claims in the study.

More than half of the misdiagnosis claims alleged that medical professionals did inadequate assessments, delayed diagnostic tests or failed to do testing altogether.

Misdiagnosis claims also involved inadequate physicals or medical histories, failing to consider clinical information and failing to address abnormal findings

Patients who brought these claims had a variety of illnesses, including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism, among others.

The Doctors Company study also found that:

  • More than 33 percent of injuries that resulted in malpractice claims occurred in hospitals
  • 58 percent of malpractice claims against internal medicine practitioners were for severe injuries
  • 34 percent of claims against doctors were for severe injuries

The Doctor's Company, a medical malpractice insurance company owned by physicians, worked on the study with practicing physicians. They studied medical malpractice claims that closed between 2007 and 2014. Read the study here.

The study shows that there are various reasons why physicians fail to properly diagnose and treat illnesses, says Howard R. Marcus, an internal medicine doctor at Austin Regional Clinic in Texas.

Co-author of the study David B. Troxel hopes that the data from this study will help medical professionals identify weaknesses in their systems for treating patients and reduce harm. Troxel is the medical director of The Doctors Company.

Dangers of Misdiagnosis

Medical treatment often begins with a diagnosis of an illness. That is how medical professionals know what treatments to use to help you.

However, if your doctor fails to diagnose your illness it could go untreated and do a lot of damage to your body and your health.

If your doctor diagnoses you with a disease that you do not have and starts treating you for that disease, you could experience harmful side effects from misguided treatment.

If you have been a victim of misdiagnosis or another form of medical malpractice, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Stewart Bell, PLLC. If you have a valid claim, we will pursue all of the compensation you are entitled.

Call 304-345-1700 right now or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.  

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