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The “Big Three” Diseases Account for Most Frequent Diagnostic Errors

Failure to diagnose a patient’s illness properly is among the most common forms of medical negligence. If this has happened to you or someone you care about, we are here to help. Our Baltimore diagnostic error attorneys understand the devastating toll that a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or missed diagnosis can have on a patient and his or her life, which is why we will work diligently to help secure a better future for you and your family.

Diagnostic errors cause serious preventable harm to patients. Countrywide estimates for these errors range from 40,000 to 4 million every year. A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Diagnosis reveals that 34 percent (about one third) of all medical malpractice cases that lead to death or permanent disability arise from an erroneous or delayed diagnosis, making it the leading cause of serious harm among medical mistakes. And of those instances, about 75 percent can be tracked back to diagnostic mistakes involving three medical conditions: cancer (37.8 percent), vascular events (22.2. percent) and infection (13.5 percent). The most frequent disease in each category was lung cancer, stroke and sepsis. The findings, from an analysis of nearly 12,000 malpractice claims, were sponsored by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.

When a diagnostic error leads to the wrong treatment, delayed treatment or no treatment at all, the patient’s health condition can be made much worse. If someone suffers harm due to a diagnostic error, a medical malpractice claim can be filed against an at-fault medical professional. However, the burden of proof in every medical malpractice case is on the victim, who must establish each of the following elements:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed. This simply means the doctor that misdiagnosed you was your treating physician or a doctor you had paid to see.
  • The doctor’s misdiagnosis was the result of negligence. This means that the misdiagnosis was a result of the doctor’s violation of the generally accepted standard of care, which is the level of care that a reasonably prudent doctor in the same specialty would have used in the same or comparable situation.
  • The doctor’s misdiagnosis caused injuries and losses for the patient.

It is important to note that not every adverse medical outcome is the result of malpractice. For example, if a physician performed the necessary tests and acted prudently but still misdiagnosed your condition, then you may not have a strong case for malpractice. Rather, malpractice must be the result of a doctor’s error, carelessness or substandard care, which then leads to preventable patient harm.

Sadly, diagnostic errors account for a large majority of medical malpractice lawsuits in Maryland and across the US. If you have suffered an injury due to a diagnostic error, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice attorney immediately. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to helping clients resolve their claims as effectively and efficiently as possible. We will examine your case and help you secure the compensation you deserve. We offer a free case evaluation so please do not hesitate to call us today at 410-889-1850 or contact us online.