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Drug Errors and Missed Diagnoses Making Up Most Primary Care Malpractice Claims

 
 

Most people believe that the leading cases of medical malpractice are brought from injuries caused in a hospital environment or from the treatment of a doctor. While medical malpractice committed by hospital based doctors, surgeons and hospitals is a serious area of concern in the legal and medical communities, a considerable percentage of claims every year are from missed diagnoses and prescription drug errors that lead to serious and oftentimes catastrophic injuries. These cases are usually the result of negligence of a primary care or family doctor in their own private practices. Today, primary care physicians are being named as defendants in malpractice suits at an accelerating rate, and the trend is prominent not just in the U.S, but also in the U.K. and Australia.

 

Published data in BMJ Open, an online forum dedicated to publishing medical research, indicates that the majority of malpractice claims brought against doctors are from missed diagnoses- particularly of cancer, heart attack, and meningitis- as well as drug errors. In the United States, studies indicate that malpractice claims brought against primary care doctors accounted for between 7.6% and 16%, the majority of which were on account of missed diagnoses. In the UK, the suits are increasing at the fastest rate, while in Australia, the claims against general practitioners accounts for the both the highest number and highest rate of increase. The most common result of these medical errors was the patient’s death and most of the deaths reported from these missed diagnosis were preventable if the proper care was instituted. Similarly, the second most-common sources of malpractice claims were drug errors, the proportion of which ranged 5.6% to 20% across all studies.

 

Despite the number of malpractice cases brought against primary care physicians, a substantial proportion of claims were unsuccessful, with only a third of U.S. claims ending up in a pay-out to the victim, either through verdict or settlement. At the Leto Law Firm, we specialize in Medical Malpractice-among other areas- and have extensive experience handling such cases for victims and their families. To contact one of our expert Miami medical malpractice lawyers, call 305-577-8448, or visit LetoLaw.com.