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Diagnostic Errors Among Common Medical Malpractice Claims

The study looked at medical malpractice cases among 8,401 radiologists. These cases spanned across 47 separate states.

From there it was found that 31 percent of radiologists had at least one medical malpractice claim against them. Of those claims, diagnostic errors were the most cited. Breast cancer, non-spinal fractures and spinal fractures ranked among the highest of those conditions impacted by diagnostic errors.

Lung cancer and vascular diseases were also on the list among those not properly diagnosed.

In terms of why the medical malpractice claims were filed in the first place, procedural complications ranked highest on the list, followed by not enough communication. Failing to recommend additional testing was also among the complaints, but it was a very rare occurrence.

Of course, any time there is any kind of medical error, the results can be devastating to a patient. For example, if a woman has breast cancer, it is imperative treatment is started right away. But, if the cancer is not diagnosed in a timely matter, this means there is a delay in terms of treatment. For some, this delay can even end up being deadly.

In general, patients in New Jersey must make sure to remember that they should be able to put their trust into the medical professionals around them. After all, it is their job. In cases where errors are made, they should be held responsible.

Source: Oncology Nurse Advisor, “Breast cancer diagnostic errors major cause of malpractice suits,” Feb. 4, 2013