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Study: Most medical malpractice lawsuits due to missed diagnosis

The failure to diagnose a medical condition correctly can prevent someone from receiving the treatment they need in a timely manner. This can lead to a worsened medical condition for that patient and even put their very life at risk. Yet, it is likely that someone in Corinth has heard of a situation in which someone was the victim of a misdiagnosis.

The results of a recent study appear to back up other studies' claims regarding the commonality of diagnostic errors. According to the study, 39 percent of lawsuits in a 25-year period concerned diagnostic errors and in 41 percent of those cases, the patient died because of it. Other studies show that 10 to 20 percent of patient deaths are caused by missed diagnoses.

One of the researchers who conducted the new study, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, stated that out of all the medical errors which occur, diagnostic errors are the most common, the most expensive and the most deadly to patients. In fact, it is estimated that doctors’ errors in failing to diagnosis patients result in the deaths of 40,000 to 80,000 patients in America alone each year.

When physicians fail to properly diagnose their patients, the results can be life-changing. Some patients may find themselves with a permanent disability, unsightly scars, constant pain, and some even die before the illness or medical condition is discovered. Hospitals and doctors have an obligation to their patients to accurately diagnose them and when the diagnostic process fails, it is the patients and their families who often have to live with the consequences.

Source: The Washington Post, “Diagnostic errors are leading cause of successful malpractice claims,” David Brown, April 22, 2013

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