As conventional knowledge have it, most claims handled by an experienced Bronx medical malpractice lawyer from firms like The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, are due to errors committed during actual surgical or treatment procedures. However, a study claims that surgical errors are not always on the top of the list. An excerpt from an article on the Huffington Post reveals that another medical error trumps surgical mistakes:
When you think of medical malpractice, you might be inclined to think that most claims involve surgical or medication mistakes. But a new study in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety shows that for the past 25 years in the United States, diagnostic errors—meaning a diagnosis was somehow missed, or delayed—trumped these two categories in terms of patient harm, number of claims and penalty payouts.
After careful interpretation of data, researchers from Johns Hopkins University identified that misdiagnosis led to some $38.8 billion in medical malpractice lawsuits from 1986-2010. However, the trend didn’t stop there—an estimated 12 million American adults who seek medical care are actually misdiagnosed each year, or 1 out of 20 adult patients.
Ironically, not even medical professionals are safe. Pediatric disease specialist Itzhak Brook was an unlucky patient himself. Brook had his throat pain examined at a hospital in Maryland, where he was told that his condition is a result of acid reflux and not cancer. However, a later diagnosis correctly identified the cause as a cancerous tumor, which led to Brook’s voice box being removed—an unnecessary procedure that left him almost unable to speak.
What’s more alarming is that cancer is among the list of most commonly misdiagnosed diseases in the world, occurring as much as 28 percent of the time, and up to 44 percent with certain types of cancer. Symptoms for heart attack, along with depression, stroke, and thyroid ailments, are also often missed.
Why do doctors make these common mistakes? Several reasons include limited knowledge (doctors might know only a few common ones that they’ve treated before), misreading of over-publicized diseases where these conditions get a lot of attention, and thus, tend to be mistakenly identified, and the lack of contemplation over a condition from lack of time or sheer unwillingness, which prevents doctors from probing deeper. In other cases, diagnostic equipment were faulty from the outset.
Either way, misdiagnosis is extremely troublesome and, unfortunately, often fatal. In the event that patients or their kin suspect unintended or deliberate negligence, they can seek the help of a skilled Bronx medical malpractice attorney to seek redress through a malpractice claim where responsible parties could be held liable, and fair compensation could at least be obtained.
(Source: Diagnostic Errors More Common in Medical Malpractice Claims than Surgical, Medication Errors: Study, Huffington Post, April 24, 2013)