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Studies examine reasons for most malpractice claims

Ohio patients may be more likely to suffer from a misdiagnosis than any other form of malpractice. According to studies by two different malpractice insurers, misdiagnosis is the main reason for malpractice claims.

One company, Coverys, reported that 46 percent of closed malpractice claims between 2013 and 2017 were diagnosis related, and the patient died in 45 percent of those cases. The other insurer, The Doctors Company, looked at 1,215 claims closed between 2008 and 2017. It reported that misdiagnosis was the issue in nearly 40 percent of claims that involved the treatment of children. The study author said this pointed to the necessity of providing adequate information to parents about symptoms that indicate the need for immediate care.

Both insurers identified a failure to make an accurate assessment based on patient history, test results and symptoms as leading to the misdiagnoses. The studies supported other research that has also identified misdiagnosis as a serious problem. The National Academy of Medicine reported that diagnostic mistakes might be the third most likely cause of death for hospital patients in 2015. Research by the University of Michigan found that more than 20 percent of malpractice claims were related to diagnosis.

There are a number of other types of medical malpractice. Unfortunately, medication errors are all too common in clinics. Rarer types of malpractice include major surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery. In all of these cases, a malpractice victim could obtain financial compensation. Legal counsel could help a patient prove that malpractice occurred.

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