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The Dangerous and Deadly Consequences of Medical Misdiagnoses

The trust placed in medical professionals is trust violated upon the discovery that malpractice occurred. Oversights and the overall lack of quality care not only violate the bond between doctor and patient, but also result in serious injuries and death.

Recent research reveals that diagnostic errors, according to one researcher, is the "most common, most catastrophic and most costly" form of medical malpractice.

The study reviewed more than 55,000 closed malpractice claims between 2006 and 2015. The findings published in a peer-reviewed paper revealed the following:

  • Malpractice claims accounted for 28 percent of lawsuit settlements going to victims and their family members
  • Thirty-four percent of medical malpractice claims resulted from inaccurate or delayed diagnoses with 65 percent resulting in permanent disability or death
  • Approximately 74 percent of misdiagnoses involved strokes, heart attacks, and cancer
  • Cancer misdiagnoses occur most in outpatient clinics while omissions involving vascular issues took place primarily in hospitals and emergency rooms

ERs represent the starting point for half of the hospital admissions. That high-pressure and seemingly out-of-control setting did not fare well in a second report. The research revealed that misdiagnoses in those environments resulted in nearly half of the financial damages paid to malpractice victims and loved ones. Specific aspects of care that fell woefully short include patient history, physical examinations, and diagnostic decision-making.

Perhaps the most tragic category in malpractice claims and financial settlements are patients ignored and waiting in an emergency room. The notion that the smallest bit of attention could have made a difference to a patient left alone represents the ultimate form of malpractice that only fuels the pursuit of justice.

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