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Studies find misdiagnosis to be the top cause of malpractice

The misdiagnosis of adult and pediatric patients is a major source for medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania and across the nation, according to two new studies. The studies were conducted by Coverys and The Doctors Company, which are both medical malpractice insurers.

Researchers at Boston-based Coverys reviewed 1,800 closed medical malpractice claims filed against doctors between 2013 and 2017. They found that 46 percent of claims involved misdiagnosis claims. They also found that 68 percent of paid indemnity costs involved misdiagnosis claims. According to the report, 45 percent of all misdiagnosis claims involved a patient who died.

Meanwhile, researchers at The Doctors Company analyzed 1,215 closed medical malpractice claims filed against doctors over their care of pediatric patients between the years of 2008 and 2017. They found that 38 percent of all the claims involved misdiagnosis. The report said that most misdiagnoses occur because doctors do not perform adequate medical assessments during exams. Researchers also claimed that doctors need to better explain what emergency symptoms parents and guardians should look for when a child is sent home.

According to a 2015 study by the National Academy of Medicine, misdiagnosis is a top cause of injury and death among hospitalized patients in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Victims of misdiagnosis and other forms of medical mistakes could have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible parties. If a claim is successful, a victim could be awarded compensation for various related damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. If a victim dies as the result of a medical malpractice incident, his or her family could be awarded a settlement for medical costs before death, funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship and loss of income. A personal injury attorney could evaluate a victim’s case and help prepare the lawsuit.