Diagnostic Errors Account For One-Third of Severe Harm Malpractice Claims

August 5, 2019 by Carrie Capouellez
Hospital Negligence Cases

When you visit a healthcare professional, you expect to get the correct diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A new Johns Hopkins study found 34% of medical malpractice claims over a 10-year period resulting in permanent injury or death were caused by diagnostic errors.

Even though physicians and other medical providers go through years of education and training to make sure they are qualified to handle patient issues, they still make mistakes. When a doctor fails to accurately diagnose a patient, the patient’s life can be put at risk. A misdiagnosed patient loses out on crucial time they could have used to treat a health issue sooner.

Diagnostic Errors

At a modern medical facility, your care doesn’t always come first. Too often, doctors’ offices and hospitals are run like businesses, and thus these entities care more about efficiency and profit than they do about patients. When providers focus on the bottom line, patients may see packed waiting rooms, overworked nurses, rushed appointments and examinations, and an increase in medical mistakes.

Diagnostic errors leading to death or permanent disability in adults were most often linked with misdiagnosed cancers (37.8%), vascular events (22.8%), and infections (13.5%), which researchers dubbed the “big three.” Within these “big three” areas, researchers identified 15 specific conditions that combined account for nearly half of all the serious, misdiagnosis-related harms:

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Arterial thromboembolism
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Encephalitis
  • Endocarditis
  • Heart attack
  • Lung cancer
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Prostate cancer
  • Sepsis
  • Skin cancer
  • Spinal infection
  • Stroke
  • Venous thromboembolism

For children and those under age 20, medical malpractice injuries most often resulted from missed infections (27.6%) rather than vascular events (7.1%) or cancers (9.1%).

Misdiagnosis Lawyers

If you or a loved one suffered injury or death due to a delayed, missed or misdiagnosis, you may have a legal claim. We care because we know from experience what it’s like to be a victim of medical malpractice. We treat all of our clients the way we would want to be treated. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our medical negligence lawyers to discuss your case involving diagnostic errors.


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