Misdiagnosing Patients Can Lead to Malpractice Claims

Jan. 24, 2019

According to a report by a liability insurer, diagnostic errors were the most common reason for medical malpractice claims from 2013 to 2017. The report discovered that rates of malpractice claims related to such errors have not declined in recent years. This is despite the fact that this has been the case for other causes of medical malpractice claims in Illinois and throughout the country. The study took a look at 10,618 cases over the four-year time period to come to its conclusions.

It also had recommendations for doctors as to how they could reduce errors related to diagnosing a patient. For instance, they could work in teams to maximize the chances of properly analyzing a patient's condition. The report mentioned that this is easier to do in settings where doctors are allowed to express uncertainty and work with others to get a diagnosis right.

Better communication between doctors and radiologists may help to improve the accuracy of a diagnosis. Radiologists write reports for doctors that can be tedious or complex in nature. Therefore, it can be easy to miss important information. Of medical malpractice claims analyzed as part of the study, 14 percent were made against radiologists. Furthermore, roughly 52 percent of errors were related to choosing improper lab tests or performing them improperly.

Any type of error a doctor or other medical professional makes may have a negative impact on a patient. Generally speaking, patients who have been harmed by misdiagnoses or other medical mistakes could be the victims of medical malpractice. One of the main elements that will have to be shown is that the health care practitioner failed to exercise the requisite standard of care.

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