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Misdiagnosis is leading cause in medical malpractice

Pittsburgh readers may be interested in knowing that the number one claimed cause of medical malpractice in the United States in misdiagnosis of injuries or illness. Medical malpractice payouts for a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose amounted to around $39 billion during the last quarter of a century. And this would only include those payments that have actually been reported.

One neurologist described this as a problem that “is too big of a problem to ignore.” There may be as many as 160,000 diagnosis errors that occur every year that result in the permanent injury or death of a patient, and all of these events are considered largely preventable.

It appears that medical facilities do not track misdiagnosis errors as they would other types of injuries caused by medical mistakes. Many misdiagnosis errors are never reported until revealed at court by an attorney representing patients in medical malpractice claims. If nothing else, these claims serve to alert the public to a very real problem.

Though many of these mistakes will result in delays in medical treatment, there are types of misdiagnosis errors that will prevent treatment from taking place. For example, failure to immediately diagnose a patient’s brain aneurysm could mean that the aneurysm will erupt and result in a patient’s death.

>Part of what will prevent these errors is good communication between the doctor and the patient. If the doctor can get the patient to speak to them about their symptoms, there is a much better chance that the doctor will pick up upon what is wrong.

Source: Source: WFMJ, “'Misdiagnosis’ leading cause of U.S. malpractice payouts,” by Denise Mann, April 23, 2013

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