A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine says that in almost 60% of cases, basic doctor-related errors played a role in incidents where patients were allegedly injured due to delayed or missed diagnosis.
Researches reviewed 307 medical malpractice claims from four U.S.-based malpractice insurance companies:
· 187 of these claims allegedly involved diagnostic errors that ended up harming patients
· Nearly 60% of the claims involved serious injuries
· 30% of the claims resulted in deaths
· All 307 cases involved delayed or missed diagnosis
According to the study, the leading factors that contributed to errors were:
· 79% failures in judgment.
· 59% vigilance or memory failures.
· 48% lack of knowledge.
· 46% patient-related factors.
· 20% handoffs to other doctors.
Researches said that most claims involved several factors, but also involved in the 307 claims were:
· 100 claims involved failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests.
· 81 claims involved failure to establish a plan for appropriate follow-up care.
· 76 claims involved failure to obtain an adequate patient history or perform an adequate physical examination.
· 67 claims involved improper interpretation of diagnostic tests.
Every year, about 200,000 Americans die as a result of medical malpractice or medical negligence. Several hundred thousand Americans are injured due to malpractice or negligence by a doctor, nurse, surgeon, nursing home, chiropractor, and other kinds of healthcare providers.
Common types of medical malpractice cases:
· Delay in diagnosis of a disease
· Delay in recognition of a medical condition that required immediate care
· Surgical errors (for example, laceration of a ureter during an abdominal surgery)
· Leaving inside a patient a foreign body or object (surgical sponge, clamp, retractors, etc.)
· Anesthesia errors
· Administering the wrong prescription medical
· Birth injury or trauma often resulting from a delayed delivery of a newborn that deprives the baby of oxygen, causing brain damage to the infant
The U.S. Department of Justice offers the following statistics related to medical malpractice trials and verdicts in large counties in 2001:
· 90% of medical malpractice trials involved plaintiffs who claimed malpractice had caused death or permanent injury.
· About half of the sampled medical malpractice trials were brought against surgeons, while a third were against nonsurgeons.
· The overall win rate for medical malpractice plaintiffs (27%) was about half of that found among plaintiffs in all tort trials (52%).
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen has successfully represented many clients in the area of medical malpractice. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a medical malpractice or negligence error in Maryland or Washington D.C., contact Lebowitz and Mzhen for a free consultation.
Study Links Doctor Errors, Bad Diagnoses, Newsday.com, October 2, 2006
Physician Error Factors in Many Medical Malpractice Claims, Study Finds, Kaisernetwork.org, October 4, 2006
Medical Malpractice, Trials and Verdicts in Large Counties, Bureau of Justice Statistics
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