Misdiagnosis—the most common malpractice claim

In a recent study that was published by BMJ Open on July 18, 2013, researchers concluded that misdiagnosis was the most common malpractice claim. The research was an analysis of around 7,150 journal papers on medical malpractice claims. They determined that 26 percent to 63 percent of the total claims were missed diagnoses. And of those misdiagnoses, the most common misdiagnoses for adults were cancer and heart attacks. Furthermore, in 15 percent to 48 percent of these cases, death was the common result from the misdiagnoses. 

This study is worth paying attention to because it shows how easily medical malpractice case can occur and how easily it can be avoided. A patient may go in for a check-up because of an abnormal lump on her breast. The doctor may mistakenly identify it as benign and erase all worries. The patient waits a couple of years and later finds out she has cancer but it may be too late. In this case, the patient could have gone to another doctor to get a second opinion—one that would have led her to take action.

It’s difficult to question your doctor because you trust your doctor with your life. But doctors are humans too and can—and often do—make mistakes. Always ask your doctor questions. If you suspect something, you should take action, especially if it involves the safety of your or your loved one’s life.

If you think you have fallen victim to medical malpractice, take that first step towards investigating. Call us at (202) 393-3320 so we can start finding out answers before it’s too late.