Study Finds : “Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Make Hospitals Safer”
The most common medical errors are not surgical errors, labor-and-delivery errors, or drug mistakes. The medical mistakes that lead to the most medical malpractice lawsuits and payments are diagnosis mistakes.
Researchers* used the National Practitioner Data Bank, an organization that records all actions taken against health care professionals by state licensing boards, to determine that 28.6 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits are for mistaken diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and other diagnosis errors.
Diagnostic mistakes accounted for 33.8 percent of disabilities and nearly 40 percent of deaths that led to medical malpractice payments. There were more than 100,000 payments as a result of diagnostic mistakes from 1986 to 2010. The senior author of the study, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, who is an associate professor of neurology of Johns Hopkins, said, “This is a major health problem . . .. There’s a lot of room for improvement. You can’t get the treatment right if you don’t get the diagnosis right.”
Error relating to medical treatment and surgery were the second and third most common causes of medical payments stemming from lawsuits. Obstetric, medication, monitoring, anesthesia, and the rest accounted for 20 percent of medical malpractice lawsuit payments.
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