A study has found that misdiagnosis leads other medical malpractice claims in terms of payout, reaching nearly $39 billion in the United States. The results offer some alarming insights on the numerous instances of diagnosis mistakes that doctors make which lead to injury, disability, or even wrongful death. Dr. David Newman-Toker, the author of the study and an associate professor of neurology at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine emphasizes the importance of the findings in an article on Health Day:
“We really have to make it a priority to measure and track diagnostic errors on an ongoing basis as we do other mistakes such as infection and wrong-site surgery,” Newman-Toker said. “They are completely underrepresented in terms of what we pay attention to.”
Errors can happen anywhere along the way. “It can be wrong diagnosis, no diagnosis or delayed diagnosis,” he said. “If you get the diagnosis wrong, the chances of getting the therapy right are greatly reduced.”
Sometimes, these mistakes can be fatal right off of the bat. “If someone has a headache, and you say ‘take two aspirin and call me in the morning,’ but the headache is really a brain aneurysm, the patient could die before morning,” Newman-Toker added.
The research also suggests that the number of misdiagnosis-related claims may be as high as 160, 000 per year. In addition, New York malpractice lawsuits paid out an immense $690 million in 2013, more than any other state in America. These statistics point to the troubling frequency of permanent damage or wrongful death, which could otherwise have been prevented by doctors and other healthcare professionals.
While the long-term effects of medical malpractice are almost always devastating, patients and their loved ones are not defenseless in these situations. Highly-skilled and dedicated Manhattan medical malpractice lawyers, such as from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, relentlessly prosecute such cases in order to give patients the reparation that they deserve.
With the help of a Manhattan medical malpractice attorney, patients have hope of receiving adequate compensation for their physical, mental, and emotional suffering. While it’s true that no amount of money can fully repair the damage that negligent medical care inflicts on unfortunate patients, it can help people rebuild their lives and begin the healing process for them and their loved ones.
(Source: ‘Misdiagnosis’ Leading Cause of U.S. Malpractice Payouts: Study, Health Day)