No type of medical malpractice is ever acceptable.
Those in Washington and the surrounding communities in Maryland and Northern Virginia sacrifice a lot to get quality medical care for themselves and their loved ones.
They have every right to expect that their professionals will diagnose and treat them properly, according to the standard of care. If they do not, the professionals may owe compensation to their victims.
Still, it may be good for patients who think they have been victims of medical malpractice or who are thinking about undergoing treatment to understand some important statistics about malpractice.
Misdiagnosis is a major contributor to medical malpractice claims
One takeaway from these statistics is that misdiagnosis remains a very common problem in the medical profession.
Not surprisingly, those specialties which are frequently diagnosed, like family medicine, pathology and internal medicine, had higher rates of diagnostic errors, at least when judging by the number of medical malpractice claims that led to payment.
Also, family doctors and internists also had higher incidents of malpractice claims, which led to the death of a patient. It is possible that this shows how diagnostic errors can have very serious consequences.
The medical profession needs to continue to work on making sure that they diagnose conditions correctly and in a timely fashion. This is not just a matter of improving education and honing skills.
Many times, doctors misdiagnosed patients because they were not aware of a key piece of information from prior treatment or from a patient’s medical history. In other words, a misdiagnosis too often begins with a lack of communication.
For the sake of some context, the specialty with the highest number of paid malpractice claims, obstetrics and gynecology, had a much higher rate of surgical errors. Many of these errors left the patient with what the study called a major physical injury.
Again, not surprisingly, other surgical specialties also had higher incidents of surgical errors.
In any event, patients should not hesitate to second guess their diagnosis if they are uneasy about it. However, the doctor ultimately bears responsibility for diagnosing a condition correctly.