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Over 30% of Severe Medical Malpractice Cases Involve Misdiagnosis


A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researched a decade of medical malpractice claims that ended in a patients’ permanent injury or death. Their investigation revealed that approximately one-third of those injuries and fatalities were caused by misdiagnoses.

Specifically, the research focused on a sample of 21,743 severe (i.e. fatal or life-altering) medical malpractice cases that were active during the years of 2006 to 2015. Of the studied claims, “7,379 were caused by diagnostic errors,” and “21% of the total malpractice claims during the same period were the result of diagnostic errors. The malpractice claims data came from Controlled Risk Insurance Co. and represents 28.7% of all malpractice claims,” according to a report from Modern Healthcare. Additionally, the research uncovered that 61.7% of all misdiagnosis claims involve cancer, infections, and vascular events. The study was funded by non-profit organization the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, and was published in their medical journal.

Diagnosis errors are highly dangerous because of the impact of inaccurate treatment. A patient who receives unnecessary surgery or medication often suffers from the side effects of the erroneous treatment plan while also not having their actual condition addressed. The state of a person who is misdiagnosed can quickly worsen as they do not respond to the medical attention given to them.

In addition to misdiagnosis, which commonly coexists with the administration of unnecessary surgery and medication errors, other causes of severe medical malpractice claims include anesthesia errors, surgical mistakes, and ignoring symptoms, among others.

At Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC, our attorney represents the victims of medical malpractice. The effects of a doctor error can lead to a patient requiring long-term, expensive treatment to address the mistake, or result in irreversible damages. Our firm is committed to recovering compensation for those who have suffered.

Complete our contact form or call (502) 242-8877 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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