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Misdiagnosis is a common reason for med mal claims

According to a couple of recent studies, one error that commonly leads to medical malpractice claims is misdiagnosis of a patient's condition. One of the studies, which focused on medical malpractice claims against physicians over several years, determined that just under half of the claims, 46 percent, had something to do with a doctor's misdiagnosis of a patient's condition. Moreover, these claims account for over two-thirds, or 68 percent, of all payments made to cover claims for compensation.

Unfortunately, many misdiagnoses apparently have disastrous results for both patients and their families. In 45 percent of claims for misdiagnosis, the mistake allegedly resulted in the patient's untimely death.

A separate study, which examined malpractice claims filed by the parents of pediatric patients, largely confirmed these results. That study found that 38 percent of such malpractice cases were connected to an alleged misdiagnosis of a child's medical condition.

The authors of the study suggested that the major reason for misdiagnosis was a doctor's not doing a thorough investigation in to his or her patient's medical condition. These latest studies also reinforce earlier research findings. For instance, a University of Michigan study, which looked at almost 63,000 medical malpractice claims filed after a patient had been hospitalized, concluded in 2017 that over 1 in 5, or 22 percent, related to erroneous diagnoses. Many of these claims unfortunately ended in the death or permanent disability of the patient.

Having undertaken a profession in which they are considered trusted experts, doctors have an obligation to diagnose their patients' conditions efficiently and accurately. Unfortunately, many doctors apparently fall short in this obligation. In such cases, a patient in the greater Detroit area can wind up dying or suffering serious consequences. Victims of such circumstances may be able to obtain compensation from the medical professional responsible.

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Michael T. Ratton
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