Central Kentucky Personal Injury & Civil Litigation Attorneys

Misdiagnosis – A Leading Cause of Medical Malpractice in Kentucky

Medical negligence

When you think about medical malpractice, what do you think of? Surgical errors? Being given the wrong medication? Birth injuries? It turns out that the most common type of medical mistake by far is misdiagnosis, which could be either a wrong diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis. The national Institute of Medicine (IOM) has gone so far as to say that “most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime.” Read on to learn more about this most common form of medical malpractice in Kentucky and nationwide.

Misdiagnosis is the most common, most costly, most dangerous and most deadly form of medical malpractice. According to the IOM, five percent of adult patients each year will receive a misdiagnosis, and ten percent of patient deaths each year are tragically attributable to a negligent misdiagnosis. As much as 17% of the adverse events occurring in a hospital happen because hospital staff failed to make a proper diagnosis of the patient’s condition.

What can be done to improve the situation? The IOM has made several recommendations as part of its call for urgent change in the medical profession to fight these persistent and unacceptable diagnostic errors. Chief among the recommendations include improving teamwork among medical staff and communication with patients and families; greater education and training into the diagnostic process; and the implementation of a reporting system so that medical professionals can become aware of and learn from these medical mistakes.

Not surprisingly, since failed diagnoses make up the most instances of medical malpractice, they also are the leading cause of malpractice claims as well. According to a study performed by the New York Times, well over one-fourth of medical malpractice payouts go for claims based on misdiagnosis. Proving a case of misdiagnosis sufficient to achieve a favorable settlement or jury verdict most often requires the use of medical expert testimony to establish the failure to provide an appropriate diagnosis and link the misdiagnosis with the harm or injury to the patient. At the same time, the patient and his or her attorney must face challenges from the negligent doctors and their insurance companies, who find their own experts to dispute the malpractice claim and present a confusing case for a judge or jury to consider. Having knowledgeable and skilled attorneys on your side who are experienced in medical malpractice matters is crucial to getting a favorable result.

In central Kentucky, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Davis & Haymond, P.S.C., at 859-624-3380 in Richmond or 606-726-9991 in Irvine.


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