New study highlights prevalence of diagnostic errors in US

According to El Paso, Texas personal injury attorney Michael Gopin, medical malpractice is a critical form of negligence that can not only result in legal action against the provider, but in harm against patients. While healthcare negligence can range from faulty surgeries to impaired physicians, Gopin explains that one common incident involves the wrongful diagnosis of patient medical conditions. Now, according to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, a new study highlights just how prevalent diagnostic errors are in the United States of America.

The Wall Street Journal article reports, "Mistakes diagnosing patients are the most common, costly and dangerous errors made by doctors in the U.S. and result in permanent injury or death for as many as 160,000 patients annually, a new study found. Surprising and disturbing findings in a new study from Johns Hopkins University reveal how often doctors are mis-diagnosing patients and at what cost."

By looking at more than 350,000 malpractice claims over the course of the last 25 years, the researchers reportedly found that "diagnostic errors—defined as missed, wrong, or delayed diagnosis—accounted for nearly 29 percent of claims, more than other categories such as treatment, surgery or medication." In addition, "Diagnostic errors made up the biggest share of claim payments at 35.2 percent of total payments, or $38.8 billion, adjusted for inflation, from 1986 to 2010. They resulted in death in more than 40 percent of claims."

Michael Gopin responds, "These results, although not surprising, are quite alarming, because they reveal that medical mis-diagnosis is not only an issue that is prevalent now, but one that has remained in the healthcare system for years, despite increasing patient safety regulations. Through my experience as a personal injury attorney, I have found that while some victims are able to seek retribution through legal action against medical providers, sometimes it is too late for them to make a claim."

Michael Gopin and his associated at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin hope that the John Hopkins University study prompts more careful regulation and practices in the diagnosis of patients. However, Michael Gopin concludes, "While improvement may happen as a result of this study, it is clear that patients still need to be wary and may even need to seek appropriate legal representation if they experience a diagnostic error."

SOURCE Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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