A recent article from the New York Times reported on the reasons behind most medical malpractice lawsuits. Surprisingly, a report compiled using the National Practitioner Data Bank found that the most medical negligence payouts were the result of diagnostic mistakes, not surgical errors, delivery mistakes or prescription overdoses as many might think.
According to the report, a break down in medical malpractice payments found that 28.6% of malpractice payments were attributed to diagnostic errors, with treatment errors and surgical mistakes accounting for the second and third highest payouts. Other types of medical errors resulting in medical malpractice payouts include birth injuries and other obstetrical errors, as well as medication, monitoring and anesthesia mistakes. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured as the result of any type of medical error, it is important to consult with an experienced San Francisco medical malpractice attorney right away. A skilled California medical negligence lawyer can begin an investigation into the circumstances that caused or contributed to an incident and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
According to the study published by BMJ Quality and Safety, diagnostic mistakes accounted for 33.8 percent of the disabilities and almost 40 percent of the deaths that resulted in malpractice payments.
One of the authors, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins, noted that “this is a major health problem,” and that physicians, hospitals and insurers all need to contribute to fixing it. … There’s a lot of room for improvement,” he continued. “You can’t get the treatment right if you don’t get the diagnosis right.”
The study concluded: "Among malpractice claims, diagnostic errors appear to be the most common, most costly and most dangerous of medical mistakes. We found roughly equal numbers of lethal and non-lethal errors in our analysis, suggesting that the public health burden of diagnostic errors could be twice that previously estimated. Healthcare stakeholders should consider diagnostic safety a critical health policy issue."