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Diagnostic errors behind many malpractice claims

One study, the results of which have been published in the journal Diagnosis, shows that 34% of medical malpractice claims stem from misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses. Researchers further discovered that three conditions, in particular, were most susceptible to these errors. The “Big Three,” of which Ohio residents should be aware, are infection, vascular events and cancer.

Together, these conditions made up 74.1% of diagnosis-related claims with the most frequently seen condition in each category being lung cancer, sepsis and stroke. Cancer was especially prone to diagnostic errors in outpatient settings while vascular events were commonly missed in emergency rooms and inpatient settings.

Of the nearly 11,600 diagnosis-related claims studied, 65% involved the patient’s death or permanent disability. The payouts made on these diagnosis-related claims comprised 28% of all payouts between 2006 and 2015.

Another report, this time from the malpractice insurer Coverys, focused on malpractice claims in emergency departments. About 47% of all payouts involving EDs were for claims related to a diagnostic error. This is worrisome because more than 50% of all inpatient hospital admissions begin in the ED. Those who work in EDs can avoid errors, though, by ensuring accurate patient histories, thorough tests and the documentation of certain elements in the medical histories of patients and their families.

Victims of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may be able to seek compensation for whatever injuries they sustained. For instance, they may have had to undergo aggressive treatments that turned out to be unnecessary. If they hire Columbus, Ohio, medical malpractice injury lawyers, they may have a better chance of succeeding with their claim because there is a lot that lawyers can do. They may even negotiate on victims’ behalf for a settlement. If one cannot be agreed upon, victims may take the case to court.