Most people know someone who battled cancer, suffered from surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy and lost. A smaller number of people know someone who went through all of that and survived. In either case, the cancer victims or their families are scarred by the experience.
Imagine how much worse it would be to be misdiagnosed? Early treatment is crucial. What if that time passed with nothing being done because the cancer wasn’t caught in time? That patient with early, treatable cancer could be sent home believing that everything was fine.
In 2013, a group of Irish researchers conducted a large study on medical malpractice claims that was published in BMJ Open. They reviewed over 7,150 journal papers, looking specifically at claims involving primary care doctors since these are normally the doctors seen first by patients.
Missed Diagnoses and Drug Errors
Missed diagnoses for cancer and heart attacks were the most common malpractice claims for adults, seen in up to 63% of claims, depending on the study. Death was the consequence in almost half of those cases. Missed diagnoses for either cancer or meningitis were most common for children.
Drug errors were seen in as many as 20% of the investigated claims. Drugs that were most often improperly prescribed or given to the victim were antibiotics, anticoagulants, steroids, antipsychotics and antidepressants.
Victims Not Compensated
In the United States, the victims in only about one out of three claims received any compensation. The U.K. victims did a little better, with approximately half of those claims resulting in compensation. Although victims received no compensation more often than not, the overall cost of medical treatment increased. Doctors involved in lawsuits tended to practice defensive medicine thereafter, with more diagnostic testing, referrals, unnecessary drugs and unnecessary procedures.
Patients Need to Be Proactive
Patients need to protect themselves by being persistent. If a woman finds that she has a lump in her breast but is told that it does not yet appear malignant, don’t assume that that means everything is fine. Insist on further checks at regular intervals.
If you believe that you or a loved one was misdiagnosed, discuss the situation immediately with a medical malpractice law attorney in Elizabethtown KY. These cases are normally complex and best started as soon as possible. Let a medical malpractice law attorney in Elizabethtown KY, fight for the compensation you are due. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.
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