Hundreds of thousands of medical diagnostic errors result in the permanent disability or death of a patient. In a recent study published in Diagnosis, researchers set out to estimate how many people were seriously harmed as a result of a misdiagnosis. Specifically, they were looking at what diseases accounted for the most medical malpractice claims.
Results of the Study
The researchers’ findings revealed that 74.1% of high-severity medical malpractice claims resulted from diagnostic error for cancers (37.8%), vascular events (13.5%), and infections (22.8%). The cases were not uniform among settings – most vascular events and infections were misdiagnosed in inpatient and emergency departments, whereas cancers misdiagnoses were more prevalent in ambulatory clinics. However, a vast majority of all high-severity claims (85.7%) resulted from clinical judgment errors.
Researchers examined 11,592 malpractice claims that were stored in the Controlled Risk Insurance Company, Ltd. Comparative Benchmark System. The database contains information about over 400,000 cases made against 165,000 physicians at over 400 hospitals. Diagnostic errors for cancers, vascular events, and infections made up 61% of all claims (low-, medium-, and high-severity), and they accounted for 67% of payouts.
Recommended Decision-Making Solutions
The results from the study confirm previous findings that diagnostic errors are the most common and costly reason for malpractice claims. Because misdiagnosis occurred mainly during bedside assessments (mostly resulting from lack of knowledge), the researchers suggest that improvement measures could decrease the number of injuries or deaths resulting from medical errors. They stated that enhanced decision-making tools, such as computer-based assessments, improved diagnostic education, and collaborative diagnostics, may provide solutions for more accurate clinical assessments.
Discuss Your Case with Brown & Barron, LLC During a Free Consultation
If a medical practitioner performs below accepted standards and fails to diagnose a health condition, they could be held financially liable for damages that resulted. Our team is here to provide the legal assistance you need to pursue a claim against the physician or institution that caused you harm. On top of steep medical bills and other expenses, these types of cases could be emotionally charged, which is why we take care of the entire legal process – interviewing experts, reviewing records, and consulting with physicians – so you can focus on your recovery.
For a compassionate advocate who will be on your side throughout the process, call us at (410) 698-1717 or contact us online.