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Studies find misdiagnoses behind most malpractice claims

Coverys, an insurance carrier specializing in medical professional liability policies, has stated that out of 1,800 closed claims against physicians from 2013 to 2017, 46 percent were related to a diagnosis. Oklahoma patients should know, then, that misdiagnosis is the single most common reason for malpractice claims. In 45 percent of those diagnosis-related cases, the patient died.

The Doctors Company, another malpractice insurer, found that a misdiagnosis led to 38 percent of malpractice claims involving the treatment of child patients. This was based on a review of 1,215 closed claims between 2008 and 2017. Misdiagnoses are largely the result of inadequate medical assessments. Researchers say doctors should give parents and guardians detailed explanations regarding the symptoms so as to prompt immediate care.

According to Coverys, inadequate medical assessments were the top allegation against primary care providers. This includes failing to conduct a complete physical exam and capture a complete family history. The primary care provider plays a critical role not just in timely diagnoses but also in the selection of treatment and in the monitoring of high-risk medications.

Previous studies support the findings. In 2015, the National Academy of Medicine said that diagnostic error may be the third leading cause of death among hospitalized patients. University of Michigan researchers found in 2017 that out of 62,966 malpractice claims filed by hospital patients, 22 percent involved a misdiagnosis.

A wrong or delayed diagnosis can result in unnecessary treatment and a worsened medical condition. People who have been harmed in such a manner might want to meet with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in order to learn more about their legal options.