Regardless of the state in which it happens, medical malpractice is always a serious concern for the victim. Not only can this lead to grave injury, or even death, but there are financial ramifications as well.
Despite the fact that this news story and study comes from the state of Massachusetts, it gives a window into medical malpractice lawsuits, including the most common reason for these cases.
According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the most common reason for medical malpractice suits against primary care physicians in Massachusetts are allegations of diagnostic errors. This can include but is not limited to rushing through a patient exam, not following up on abnormal results, and failing to make a referral to a specialist.
The study went on to add that malpractice suits against primary care physicians, due to allegations of diagnostic errors, occurred 72 percent of the time. These stats were derived by studying records associated with more than 500 malpractice suits against local doctors from the years spanning 2005 and 2009.
The lawsuits not associated with allegations of diagnostic errors were as follows: eight associated with patient safety, 11 from patient rights, 15 due to communication, and 68 from medications.
The study also noted that 35 percent of the time these cases resulted in a settlement. This number among primary care physicians is high when considering the 21 percent of settlements in malpractice lawsuits regarding specialists.
It doesn’t matter if you live in Maryland, Massachusetts, or another state, it is important to note that medical malpractice does happen from time to time. As a patient, you need to be aware of this to protect your rights and ensure your safety when visiting any type of medical professional, ranging from primary care physicians to specialists.
Source: FierceHealthcare, Misdiagnoses most common malpractice claim for Mass. docs Zack Budryk, Oct. 08, 2013