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Diagnosis errors among most common in malpractice cases

Two separate research papers released within weeks of each other both indicate that errors in diagnosis are a major source of medical malpractice claims. The first, released by insurance company Coverys, was focused on emergency departments in hospitals. It found that claims related to issues in diagnosis accounted for 47% of emergency department payouts and 33% of claims filed. Delayed or erroneous diagnoses were the most common single cause of medical malpractice claims against emergency departments throughout Georgia and the rest of the U.S.

The second paper, published by Diagnosis, found that delayed or erroneous diagnoses were involved in 34% of malpractice claims where the patient was seriously disabled or died. According to the study, claims related to diagnosis errors accounted for 28% of all medical malpractice payouts. The study included reviews of 55,377 closed claims that were filed between 2006 and 2015. Over 11,500 of the claims involved errors in diagnosis. The study was paid for by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Of the claims made alleging diagnosis errors, almost 75% were connected to infections, cancer or vascular events like heart attacks or strokes.

According to the second paper, vascular issues were the most commonly cited conditions in medical malpractice claims from emergency departments and inpatient settings. In outpatient settings, the diagnosis most frequently missed was cancer.

An attorney with experience practicing medical malpractice law may be able to assist an injured party by gathering evidence. The patient is often at an information disadvantage in medical malpractice cases. However, an attorney could help identify parties who have liability or medical errors that may be actionable.

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