Are You Sure Your Doctor Treated the Right Medical Condition?
Most patients go to medical practitioners for treatment of a condition without really considering the importance of diagnosis in the process. Yet without timely and accurate diagnoses, treatments may be ineffective at best — and fatal at worst.
A 2013 study revealed that diagnostic errors occur more frequently than treatment errors, and that they are more costly and harmful. Doctors at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at 350,700 paid medical malpractice claims since 1986 and found the following alarming results:
- Diagnostic errors were responsible for 28.6 percent of the claims, making them the leading type of medical malpractice claim.
- Total payments for these claims accounted for 35.2 percent of payments for all claims.
- Diagnostic errors caused double the number of deaths and disabilities from other types of errors.
- Missed diagnoses occurred more frequently than delayed or incorrect diagnoses.
The lead doctor of the study indicated he does not foresee massive reform in the area of medical diagnosis, largely because of the complexity and diversity of these errors when compared to finding solutions for other patient safety issues. However, experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyers see enough of these claims to recommend that patients proactively help their own prospects by making sure their physicians have their full medical histories, asking about the likely accuracy of a given diagnosis and seeking second opinions when there is any doubt.
Even with the highest level of medical care, an accurate diagnosis is not always possible. But if a doctor’s negligence resulted in your misdiagnosis and caused you harm, you have the right to take legal action.