Going to the doctor is supposed to be a way to get better, but sometimes things can go wrong. Medical professionals are human and can make mistakes just like anyone else. However, when they make mistakes, they can be life-or-death.
Prevalence of Diagnostic Errors
Diagnosis-related allegations are the second most common allegation, accounting for 27.3% of all medical malpractice claims. Utilizing data reported by Coverys, we have compiled the following statistics:
Common Diagnostic Errors
The most common diagnostic errors include:
- Misdiagnosis: occurs when a medical professional diagnoses a patient with the wrong condition or disease.
- Delayed diagnosis: occurs when a medical professional diagnoses a patient later than they should have been.
- Missed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose: occurs when a medical professional fails to diagnose a condition altogether.
These errors can lead to various consequences, such as treating the wrong condition, worsening the patient's condition, or even death.
Top Five Conditions in Diagnosis-Related Allegations
The top five conditions in diagnosis-related allegations are as follows:
- Cancer - 28.5%
- Infection - 15.5%
- Cardiac/Vascular/MI - 14.9%
- Neurological - 6.5%
- GI-Related - 4.7%
The top improperly diagnosed cancers in these allegations are lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, and skin/melanoma cancers.
Top Five Diagnosis-Related Allegations
The top five diagnosis-related allegations are as follows:
- History & Physical/Evaluation of Patient - 32.0%
- Interpretation of Tests - 23.9%
- Ordering Diagnostic/Lab Tests - 23.5%
- Referral Management - 7.5%
- MD Follow-Up with Patient - 5.0%
Harmful Consequences of Diagnostic Errors
Diagnostic errors often have harmful and even fatal consequences:
- Patients may be subjected to unnecessary treatments, suffer from worsening conditions, or even die from untreated conditions.
- Misdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary surgeries or treatments that could have been avoided with an accurate diagnosis.
- Delayed diagnosis can worsen a condition, require more invasive treatments, and lead to a worse outcome.
- Failure to diagnose can result in a lack of treatment or a delay in treatment that could have prevented complications.
Severity of Diagnosis-Related Errors
The severity of diagnosis-related errors is as follows:
- Death - 35.3%
- High Severity - 16.4%
- Medium Severity - 37.7%
- Low Severity - 10.5%
Importance of Hiring an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one experiences diagnostic errors, it is important to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice cases are complex, and a skilled attorney can help you navigate the legal process. They can assist you in proving negligence, gather evidence to support your case and work with medical experts to build your case. An attorney can also help you navigate the legal system to ensure that your case is filed correctly and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Mexico
Medical malpractice is a serious issue, and diagnostic errors significantly contribute to the problem. Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and missed diagnoses can all have harmful and life-altering consequences.
If you or a loved one have suffered from diagnostic errors, it is essential to seek the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. They can guide you through the legal process and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
The compassionate team of attorneys at Curtis & Co. have decades of experience fighting for justice and helping families through heartbreaking times. Let us assist by offering a free case review — providing an opportunity to better understand your legal rights and potential options that can be taken going forward, no matter where in New Mexico you are located.