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Studies: diagnostic errors common cause of medical malpractice

It happens to just about all of us. We start experiencing some sort of symptom, whether its pain in a certain area of the body, dizziness, confusion or merely a sore throat and a runny nose; however, we hesitate to go to the doctor. Sure, some Michigan residents are concerned about the cost of medical care, but others are afraid of the diagnosis they may receive. Those who find the courage to consult with their doctor may find that their condition is something that is minor and easily treatable. Others may find that their illness is more severe, but a quick diagnosis can lead to effective treatment. In far too many of these instances, though, medical professionals either fail to diagnose a medical condition or provide the wrong diagnosis.

In fact, a few recent studies show just how prevalent diagnostic errors are in the medical field. One of those studies found that more than one-third of all medical malpractice claims that arose after suffering serious disability or death were related to errors in diagnosis. Amongst those claims, nearly two-thirds of victims died or were left permanently disabled. Another study found that diagnostic errors were the most common causes of medical malpractice claims against emergencies rooms.

As scary as it may sound, nobody is safe from diagnostic errors. Although any medical condition can be misdiagnosed or slip past a doctor’s detection, three major conditions, which include cancer, strokes and heart attacks and infections, are the most commonly missed or misdiagnosed. These conditions require prompt treatment in order for that care to be effective. This means that a delayed diagnosis, a missed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis can quickly result in a worsened medical condition and decreased chances of survival.

Some experts say that lack of funding for research has prevented further efforts to curtail diagnostic errors, but far too often medical errors are simply caused by doctors’ negligence. Under these circumstances, a medical malpractice lawsuit is justified. If successful, one of these claims may lead to the recovery of compensation for damages suffered. Those who would like to learn more about how to pursue one of these claims should consider consulting with an attorney who is experienced with handling medical malpractice claims.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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