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Diagnostic Errors are Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice

Diagnostic Errors are Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice

Missed-diagnoses, delays in diagnoses and erroneous diagnoses comprise the most common medical malpractice allegations. While medical malpractice can occur in a variety of forms and actions (including surgical errors, anesthesia errors, and prescription errors), a new study found that diagnostic-related errors are the most frequent.

Several factors go into making the correct diagnosis. And, making a proper and timely diagnosis is the first step in ensuring a patient receives the necessary treatment to improve. The failure to obtain that proper diagnosis may result in significant patient harm by allowing a disease to worsen, closing the optimal treatment window and reducing the chance for a full recovery.

Among the factors going into making a proper diagnosis, are using the appropriate clinical judgment, maintaining open and clear communication between doctor and patient, and having proper documentation of symptoms. However, the study found that the biggest contributor to missed diagnoses was the failure to address abnormal findings. Issues also included the failure to order proper diagnostic tests, the failure to make accurate differential diagnoses, taking inadequate patient history and physical examinations. Another issue includes poor communication between medical providers – including not properly related the patient’s condition and the failure to fully read the chart.

The purpose of the study was to reveal concerns and help develop guidance and protocols for practitioners to decrease the frequency of medical errors.

As experienced personal injury attorneys dedicated to improving patient safety, we applaud efforts to decrease the occurrence of medical negligence.

For more information or if you or a loved one has been harmed by medical negligence, please contact the experienced San Francisco medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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