Archive for August, 2014

Filing a Failure to Diagnose Claim Can Help Medical Community

August 7th, 2014 at 11:21 am

failure to diagnose, failure to diagnose cancer, medical malpractice, misdiagnosis, Richard H. Raphael, Westport medical malpractice attorneyHeadlines about surgical tools being left in a patient’s body, or babies born with birth defects due to a hospital’s negligence, are attention-grabbing. However, a quieter and perhaps more deadly type of malpractice is most common—misdiagnosis.

According to Fox News, a study examining “medical malpractice claims against primary care doctors in the United States, Australia, France, and Canada found that between 26 and 63 percent of claims were related to missed diagnoses.” It is important to note that malpractice claims are different than the actual number of incidents as claims are allegations brought against the doctor by the affected patient or bereaved family. According to Fox News, about two-thirds of medical malpractice claims filed in the United States are thrown out by a court and not awarded.

The most common outcome in a medical malpractice claim was death of the patient. Not surprisingly, a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer was the number one reason for the claim: specifically breast, colon, melanoma, and lung cancer. A failure to diagnose meningitis in children was high on the list, as was a failure to recognize a heart attack in adults. Though many of these claims are thrown out, by some estimates the number of such incidents could be much higher than the claims suggest. Many patients who experience adverse side effects do not recognize them as medical malpractice and do not file.

A doctor at the California-based malpractice insurer The Doctors Company told Fox that suits can help doctors recognize where diagnoses are being missed, and alert them to the possibility of atypical symptoms. Many claims were filed in recent years regarding cases of heart attacks in women. By studying these claims, doctors were able to learn more about how to detect the possibility of heart attacks in women, and share this information with other doctors. “Ultimately [the process of analyzing malpractice claims] can contribute to improving the quality of medical practice,” the doctor told Fox.

If you or someone you know has been negatively affected by a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose in Connecticut, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a Westport medical malpractice attorney. Contact the law offices of Richard H. Raphael, Attorney at Law, for a free initial consultation today.

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