People in Arizona rely on medical professionals to diagnose their problems accurately, but diagnostic errors represent the top cause of medical malpractice claims. A study conducted by a provider of malpractice services looked at over 10,600 medical malpractice claims between 2013 and 2017. The data analysis revealed that 33 percent of cases arose from diagnostic mistakes.
Inaccurate clinical decisions accounted for half of the claims that involved misdiagnosis. One of the authors of the report noted that the rate of diagnostic errors has stubbornly remained high even though other sources of medical errors have gone down.
The report also identified the top causes of misdiagnosis. Doctors failing to evaluate a patient fully or review family history produced 33 percent of the claims regarding diagnosis. Lab tests produced the errors behind 52 percent of the lawsuits. In this category, doctors selected the wrong test, botched the test or interpreted results poorly. Doctors with heavy workloads were the most prone to making these mistakes. Medical providers who worked in isolation produced misdiagnoses more often than caregivers who had the opportunity to collaborate with others.
When doctor errors cause direct harm or deprive people of the chance to receive appropriate treatment, medical malpractice law might support the patients’ claims for damages. Someone who wants answers about the cause of a medical error may consult an attorney. With legal representation, a person might obtain the opinion of an independent doctor about the case. This evidence may reveal negligence on the part of a doctor or hospital. If the evidence appears able to meet the high legal standards that apply to medical cases, an attorney may prepare a lawsuit. Legal advice might help someone assess the acceptability of a settlement offer or choose to pursue a jury award in court.