When we think of “medical malpractice,” we might imagine a clumsy surgeon dropping a scalpel into a chest cavity, or a negligent nurse absentmindedly tripling a patient’s medications. It may surprise you to learn that more than one-third of all medical malpractice insurance payments stem from simple misdiagnosis of symptoms.
Studying figures provided by the National Practitioner Data Bank, scholars have discovered that over the last quarter-century, 35.2 percent of all malpractice payouts have been for diagnostic errors. Even more alarming is the recognition that almost half of those payouts were the result of patient deaths that might have been avoided.
Physicians and researchers constantly struggle with the definition of medical malpractice, with some arguing that it should be defined as any missed, delayed or incorrect diagnosis, while others insist that it should be based on outcomes such as patient harm. Regardless of how this argument is settled, at least one doctor sums it up plainly: “At the policy level, there is no institute that views it as their problem,” says Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins. “There’s a lot of room for improvement,” he adds. “You can’t get the treatment right if you don’t get the diagnosis right.”
Here’s Paulette Chapman of Koonz McKenney discussing misdiagnosis and other types of medical malpractice:
What Should I Do If I Have Been The Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you or a family member has suffered through the horror of misdiagnosis or other medical malpractice in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, we can help you obtain the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.
Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys