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Misdiagnosis is a leading cause of malpractice awards

Maryland readers familiar with this blog have read about the problems associated with misdiagnosis in the medical community in the past. Misdiagnosis refers to forms of hospital negligence involving an inaccurate or mistaken diagnosis, or the failure to diagnose an illness or medical condition altogether. In any case, the misdiagnosis of a serious medical condition can have serious, even life-threatening consequences.

According to a study released last April. misdiagnosis accounts for the largest share of medical malpractice payouts in the United States. In fact, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center reviewed over 350,000 medical malpractice cases going back 25 years. What the study found was that more than one-third of the total amount of medical malpractice awards paid out in that time was related to misdiagnosis.

Due to the nature of some medical conditions, misdiagnosis can be life-threatening. The failure to diagnosis certain cancers, for example, can result in delays in treatment and the cancer spreading. In a recent case, a doctor misdiagnosed a 6-year-old as having type two diabetes, despite the fact that type one diabetes is far more common in young children. As a result, the child died from diabetic-related complications.

While doctors are human and humans are prone to err, too often failures in diagnosis are the result of very serious and preventable medical mistakes. For patients injured due to a doctor's error or a serious medical mistake, like a failure to diagnosis a serious illness, it may be time to consult with an attorney. Patients who are injured in such cases can collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Source: The Village Voice, "Type Miscast: Misdiagnosis Is Most Common Cause of Medical Malpractice Payouts," Albert Samaha, Oct. 4, 2013

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