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Reports find misdiagnosis behind majority of malpractice claims

Diagnostic errors have long been known to be a leading factor in malpractice among hospitalized patients. However, separate reports from two malpractice insurers have found that such mistakes are behind the majority of all medical malpractice claims. Residents of Hawaii may be interested to know the conclusions of these reports.

Coverys, reviewing 1,800 claims that were closed against physicians between 2013 and 2017, found that 46 percent involved a misdiagnosis. Forty-five percent of the patients in these claims died. Inadequate patient assessments were the top allegation. For example, many primary care providers failed to capture a complete family history or perform a complete physical exam.

PCPs are also responsible for selecting patients' treatments and monitoring their high-risk medications, so it is a serious matter for them to be negligent. Coverys found that the second and third most common allegations were linked to diagnostic test orders and to referrals and follow-ups.

The second report comes from The Doctors Company. After analyzing 1,215 claims closed from 2008 to 2017, the insurer found that 38 percent of claims against physicians who treated children involved misdiagnosis. This, in turn, was largely the result of poor medical assessments. The report shows the need for doctors to provide clear, detailed explanations that can prompt immediate action once the child is sent home.

The victim of medical malpractice may want to see a lawyer. A malpractice attorney can usually request an inquiry with the local medical board and hire third parties to conduct additional investigations. The victim may be able to leave all negotiations to their lawyer as well. If a settlement cannot be reached out of court, litigation could be an option. Successful claims often cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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