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Most Common Cause Of Medical Malpractice: Negligent Diagnosis

When we think of medical malpractice, our first thoughts often race to the most shocking kinds of mistakes. For example, surgical errors, mistaken amputations and prescription overdoses are horrific, headline-grabbing scenarios. According to new research, however, the most common situation in which medical malpractice injures American patients may be the initial diagnosis.

These researchers discovered that misdiagnosis problems are involved in more than 28 percent of all medical malpractice payments, nearly 34 percent of disabilities and 40 percent of fatalities. 

This indicates that hospitals, doctors and other medical professionals might need to step back from focusing on more dramatic categories of malpractice. Instead, they might need to carefully evaluate the procedures and practices used to assess patients.

One improvement might involve the amount of time that doctors spend with patients during one-on-one diagnoses. Many hospitals and physicians prioritize high volumes of patients - spending less time evaluating individuals in order to move on to the next patient on the list. This puts profits before patient safety. According to this new research, that could be having a big impact on the quality of healthcare in Ohio and the rest of the nation.

Source: The New York Times, "Why Doctors Are Sued," Nicholas Bakalar, Apr. 29, 2013 

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