When a medical professional misdiagnoses a patient’s condition, it can start a chain reaction that usually does not end well for the patient. After a misdiagnosis, the patient may not receive appropriate treatment as soon as he or she should. Alternatively, the patient might receive unnecessary treatment or no treatment at all. Unfortunately, this type of mistake can severely injure the patient or lead to his or her death.
When a medical professional’s negligence causes injury or death, the victim or the victim’s loved ones often seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Two recent studies took a closer look at these claims filed over the past several years, and revealed that misdiagnosis is one of the most common causes for medical malpractice claims.
While inaccurate or delayed diagnoses are common in general, one study found that medical professionals misdiagnose some conditions more than others. Cancer, vascular events and infections make up almost three quarters of all diagnosis-related claims in the study.
However, the problem is not necessarily that some conditions are more difficult to diagnose. The same study also revealed that some medical institutions are more likely to miss certain conditions.
For example, outpatient clinics tend to misdiagnose cancer. Emergency departments and inpatient hospital facilities tend to misdiagnose vascular events, such as strokes and heart attacks.
Misdiagnosis may be especially prevalent in emergency departments. One study revealed that diagnosis-related claims made up almost 50% of the medical malpractice claim payouts for emergency departments. The fast-paced nature of emergency departments may contribute to the prevalence of misdiagnosis in these settings, but misdiagnosis harms patients nonetheless.
If a misdiagnosis harmed you or a loved one, it may be appropriate to seek justice. A medical malpractice case can be challenging to win, but it may help you or your loved one receive the compensation you may be entitled to receive.