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Most successful medical malpractice claims come from misdiagnosis

As we have reported in the past, misdiagnosis is the most common medical mistake that occurs in hospitals throughout Ohio and the rest of the United States. In fact, researchers recently confirmed that misdiagnosis was the reason for close to three out of every ten successful medical malpractice claims over a 25-year span.

What’s perhaps most scary, though, is that about half the patients involved in the misdiagnosis claims died as a result of the malpractice and most of the others experienced serious or permanent injury. Interestingly, these instances of misdiagnosis didn’t arise in hospitals, for the most part. Instead, close to seven out of ten occurred outside of the hospital in primary care settings.

One might think that these diagnostic errors were a result of primary care physicians being untrained to catch rare illnesses. However, according to Kaiser Health News, the mistakes were most commonly made as a result of “flawed ways of thinking, sometimes coupled with negligence” and not “rare or exotic diseases” that the doctor didn’t know enough about.

When it comes to avoiding medical misdiagnosis, experts say that one of the best things you can do is to provide your doctor with as much information as you can. This means making a list of all of the medications, supplements and vitamins you are taking as well as a detailed description of the problem you are currently having. Additionally, it’s best to write out questions you have for the doctor prior to the appointment so that you don’t forget.

Although there is no way to protect yourself 100 percent from medical misdiagnosis, taking these steps can help keep you safe. If you or someone you love has already suffered because of a medical misdiagnosis, talk to a medical malpractice attorney in your area to determine if you might be entitled to compensation.

Source:  The Daily Courier, “THE GOOD PATIENT: Avoid being snared by the most common medical error,” Elizabeth Bewley, June 30, 2013