Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Used to Prevent Physician Diagnostic Errors

Healthcare insurers and providers are working on beginning programs based on previous medical malpractice lawsuits to help prevent missed, delayed, and incorrect diagnoses, according to The Wall Street Journal. The need for additional ways to help prevent patient injury and death due to diagnostic errors cannot be stressed enough, especially since this form of medical negligence accounts for nearly 40% of cases, costs insurers about $300,000 per case to settle, and is the chief cause of malpractice lawsuits. Patient-safety research conducted at John Hopkins University revealed that on average, diagnostic errors lead to the death of 40,000 to 80,000 patients annually.

In studying previously filed malpractice claims, data shows that diagnostic errors usually do not have a solitary cause. Instead, there are frequently at least three mistakes, or “breakdowns” that cause missed or delayed diagnoses. Cancer misdiagnosis has been identified as the most common form of diagnostic error, with breast cancer being the most frequently delayed or missed diagnosis.

While some worry that using data from malpractice lawsuits will make doctors recommend unnecessary tests and procedures in order to protect themselves against potential lawsuits, others believe that these malpractice cases have already helped teach physicians new ways of ensuring accurate and timely diagnoses.

As patients, we expect physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide a high standard of care to ensure our well-being and provide proper treatment for accurate and timely diagnoses. Unfortunately, as the article emphasizes, medical malpractice and hospital negligence occur far too often, thus jeopardizing the health of patients. Individuals who have been injured and family members of those wrongfully killed because of physician error or hospital negligence have valid legal rights that a Florida medical malpractice lawyers can help protect. You should not have to go through such a challenging time alone, and you do not have to.