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The top 2 reasons patients file medical malpractice cases

A recently published study suggests that delayed diagnoses are the No. 1 reason patients sue doctors for medical malpractice. The study, which was conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons, evaluated hundreds of cases of medical malpractice across Australia, France, Canada and the United States.

Researchers found that, as many as 63 percent of all medical malpractice cases filed against primary care physicians in each of those countries cited a medical misdiagnosis as the reason the lawsuit was brought.

The researchers found that the most commonly misdiagnosed disease is cancer. Among the most often misdiagnosed cancers are colon, lung and breast varieties as well as melanoma. Heart attacks rank second to cancer as the most commonly misdiagnosed medical condition among adults. For children, warning signs of meningitis often go without being properly diagnosed.

Medication errors come in a near second to misdiagnoses as the reason for patient deaths. Those who are prescribed the drugs experience anything from adverse side effects to overdoses, depending on the patient's body chemistry and how much of the drug he or she is given.

As for the study's author, she emphasizes that the purpose of drawing attention to the causes of medical malpractice lawsuits is not to instill fear in patients. Instead, she highlights how studying these cases has helped doctors increase their awareness about different medical conditions and how they differ from one another. She notes that doctors can use these cases as examples of how to improve their provision of care to patients.

She also notes that, in the case of dosage errors, evaluating cases may help hospital administration in determining where to invest in more health management systems. These types of software, she notes, are helpful in allowing doctors to cross-reference medicines a patient has already received. It has the potential to help doctors avoid prescribing two drugs that don't go well with one another as well as overdosing.

If you've been misdiagnosed or have experienced an adverse reactions to medications because of a dosage error, a Chicago medical malpractice attorney can help. In doing so, he or she can advise you of your right to file a claim for reimbursement of medical expenses as well as your right to request compensation for pain and suffering in your case.

Source: Live Science, "Failure to diagnose is no. 1 reason for suing doctors," Rachael Rettner, accessed Aug. 17, 2017

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