Diagnostic errors like misdiagnosis are among the most common types of medical malpractice claims. According to an analysis of malpractice claims from 1986-2010 by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Md, “Among malpractice claims, diagnostic errors appear to be the most common, most costly and most dangerous of medical mistakes.” The report was published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety in April 2013.
In cases of wrong diagnosis or other diagnostic errors that cause injury, patients may file a claim of medical malpractice with lawyers in Long Island.
Statistics on Diagnostic Errors
The Johns Hopkins researchers estimated that anywhere between 80,000 and 160,000 patients in the United States suffer injury or death every year as a result of a misdiagnosis. Many cases of wrong diagnosis are preventable.
Additionally, between the years analyzed in the study, this form of medical malpractice had the highest amount of payouts ($38.8 billion). Yet these types of mistakes don’t seem to get the same attention as other kind of medical errors.
For instance, leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient or administering the wrong type of drug is much easier to recognize as constituting medical negligence. It generally takes time for a diagnostic error to be identified.
It’s also interesting to note that the majority of these mistakes occur on an outpatient basis (such as a visit to the family doctor), rather than inpatient (hospital). In fact, they account for 68.8 percent of diagnostic errors.
Overview of a Missed or Wrong Diagnosis
When a patient complains of symptoms or there appears to be something medically wrong, decisions need to be made as what to do next. So when a disease or condition is misdiagnosed, it could result in a patient receiving no treatment or the wrong kind of treatment. In either circumstance, there is the risk of the health problem worsening or the patient suffering side effects from unnecessary and/or harmful treatment.
Along with analyzing symptoms that a patient may or may not be experiencing, healthcare providers are expected to take additional steps to accurately diagnose a patient. For instance, medical imaging or laboratory tests may be necessary in some cases. A New York medical malpractice lawyer in Long Island may use evidence that proper tests were not ordered when common practice would call for it to demonstrate negligence.
Time constraints can be an issue in some cases. With most doctor appointments slotted for only 10 to 15 minutes, it may not be enough time to gather all necessary and relevant information to make a proper diagnosis. Further, some doctors may fail to consider whether symptoms of a particular condition mimic those of another disorder, which may lead to misdiagnosis in some cases.
A lack of training, miscommunication and other forms of negligence could also be contributing factors in this kind of medical malpractice. Although not all cases will result in serious harm when they do, it could result in the filing of a claim with help from New York medical malpractice lawyers in Long Island.
Liability for Injuries or Fatalities Stemming from Misdiagnosis
There are many settings in which this type of medical malpractice could occur:
- physician’s clinic;
- imaging center;
- outpatient surgical facility;
- nursing home; and
Generally medical negligence involving misdiagnosis is related to a physician or specialist, but wrong diagnosis can also be the result of mistakes made by laboratory technicians, ER doctors or radiologists.
In some cases more than one party could be liable for a diagnostic error and its resultant injuries and damages. It would need to be determined what the source of the missed or wrong diagnosis was and whether a medical professional acted in an unreasonable manner or provided substandard care.
Seek Help from a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Long Island
A New York medical malpractice lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates in Long Island can evaluate the circumstances surrounding a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis to help determine if negligence was the cause or a contributing factor.