One in every three medical malpractice cases that result in permanent disability or death in Oklahoma and elsewhere is caused by misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, according to a new study published in the journal Diagnosis. That means inaccurate diagnosis is a leading cause of serious medical mistakes.
Among the various requirements that need to be met for a medical malpractice claim to be successful in Oklahoma, perhaps the most challenging is that of proving causation. On the one hand, it is relatively easy to show that a doctor or other medical professional failed to adhere to a standard of care. That standard must, of course, be reasonable for the circumstances in which the injury occurred. Linking that negligence to the injury is another matter.
Patients in Oklahoma hospitals may be the victim of a health IT-related patient safety error. However, a majority of those errors are not being addressed according to a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management. The study looked at 1.7 million safety events overall to find those that were related to health IT. Researchers then sorted the health IT events into four groups based on how the problems were resolved.
In Oklahoma and elsewhere, healthcare workers who treat infectious patients may commit errors in the removal of personal protective garments like gloves and gowns, resulting in their clothes and equipment being contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is the conclusion of a study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
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.
When parents in Oklahoma take their children to the doctor's office or the hospital for treatment, they may be very concerned about the potential for inaccurate or mistaken diagnoses and treatments. When medical mistakes and safety errors affect children, the results can be devastating and long-lasting. According to one study, over half of the safety errors that took place in pediatric treatment were related to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and medication. The study examined 9,000 patient safety reports gathered at three hospitals over a five-year period.
Medical malpractice is a common cause of injury and even death in Oklahoma. Most people trust that doctors will do their best. However, mistakes sometimes occur. One woman went to the hospital to receive spinal fusion surgery on her back and later found out that a surgeon removed one of her kidneys.
Oklahoma residents should know that Lewy body dementia, or LBD, is a progressive brain disorder that affects 1.4 million people in the United States. It is a condition in which alpha-synuclein protein deposits accumulate in the parts of the brain that control movement, behavior and cognition. LBD is very underdiagnosed because its symptoms are very similar to well-known medical conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. In fact, many medical professionals, including physicians, have no familiarity with LBD.
When women arrive at emergency rooms in Oklahoma and report severe abdominal pain, they will wait an average of 65 minutes for treatment compared to 49 minutes for men. If the problem is a heart attack, doctors will misdiagnose the condition in women seven times more often than men will. Frequently, doctors decide that women have mental health problems instead of legitimate physical complaints.
Researchers at Coverys, the provider of liability insurance to medical practitioners and health systems, have analyzed over 10,000 radiology-related medical malpractice claims filed between 2013 and 2017 and now closed. Their intention was to identify major risk factors and safety vulnerabilities. The results of their study should be of interest to Oklahoma residents.