Diagnostic Errors Account for Greatest Percentage of Medical Errors

Diagnostic Errors Account for Greatest Percentage of Medical Errors

Medical malpractice errors continue to occur at an alarming rate, with an estimated 250,000 fatalities each year. A recent study concluded that diagnostic errors accounted for the largest percentage of errors. Of diagnostic errors - mistakes related to lab testing were the most frequent. This study is important as it shines light on some common practices and provides guidance for reducing the number of medical mistakes.

When medical mistakes occur and a patient is harmed, it may be possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and recover damages for your harm. Where a patient dies as a result of negligence, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death suit and recover damages for lost future wages, loss of society and companionship, and other damages resulting from the error.

The failure to diagnose and treat an ailment is understandably a significant area of concern. Without prompt and early detection, the chances for a full and complete recovery diminish. In many situations, the longer it takes for a doctor to treat a condition, the less likely it becomes that the patient receives optimum care. A large portion of the failure to diagnose matters arise from lab testing errors. This may be due to the wrong tests being ordered, tests being performed incorrectly or erroneous interpretation of lab results. Another problem that has been identified is that even when lab testing is correctly performed doctors may not take sufficient time to fully review the results due to heavy workloads and the often lengthy and detailed findings.

Another area of concern is doctor/patient communication. When the lines of communication breakdown, such as when doctors fail to take a complete family history or take the time to properly evaluate a patient's concerns, diagnostic errors may occur.

The study concluded that to help improve patient safety, doctors and hospital staff should be encouraged to discuss difficult diagnoses and cases with other doctors, and to reduce workloads to become more focused on the individual seeking treatment.

For more information or if you or a loved one has been harmed due to a medical error, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.
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